Leadership rivals reveal policies for north
authority cuts if elected first minister in 2021.
His rival Richard Leonard, a Central Scotland MSP and former trade union organiser, promised to lead Scottish Labour as a party for “the whole of Scotland” and “deliver hope in place of despair.”
Both made a commitment to visit all parts of the Highlands if elected leader.
The pair were speaking yesterday in Inverness.
A room full of about 50 party activists gathered at the city’s Beaufort Hotel in Culduthel Road for the hustings.
Yesterday, both contenders said they would work to end the public sector pay cap for 31,000 workers in the Highlands, and stop the “diminution” of power to local government.
Mr Leonard said he has been fighting – and will continue to fight – to keep Highlands and Islands En- terprise board instead of a central strategic board.
Mr Sarwar said he would introduce a derelict land tax on land “sat on” by developers which could instead be used by the council for social housing.
And he would also give Highland Council the power to introduce a tourism tax which he says would raise an estimated £9.2million a year.
Mr Leonard said his first priority for education would be “investment” to combat the lack of IT teachers in schools, and that he wants to see more powers for education at the local government level.
With 19% of children in the Highlands living in poverty, he added that “tackling poverty and inequality” at home is the way to reduce a “widening attainment gap.”
Mr Sarwar said there should be a “re-regulation of bus services”.