Labour launch their case for another five years in Falkirk

Labour MSP Richard Leonard (centre) helped launch Labour's 2017 local government election manifesto with the party's Falkirk candidates
Labour MSP Richard Leonard (centre) helped launch Labour's 2017 local government election manifesto with the party's Falkirk candidates

Labour launched its bid to retain control of Falkirk Council with a snappy ‘Keep it local, keep it Labour’ message to voters.

Under pressure to convince the people, the 2017 election manifesto pledges Labour is the party that can build the local economy, create new jobs and invest in our young people.

Despite the opinion polls, the party is upbeat about its prospects.

Craig Martin, leader of the last administration, led the offensive.

He said: “The Labour Group not only had to endure years of a Tory UK austerity agenda which the SNP Scottish Government simply passed on entirely to local councils, but also a Scottish Government that has consistently attacked local government by stripping councils of services and powers.

“That has never however diverted the Labour-led administration from its positive vision for Falkirk to be the place to work, live and visit.”

He said he was “proud” that since Labour came to power 96 per cent of school leavers now have a positive destination, school grades had risen each year, social rented properties have increased by almost 1000 with 500 being newly built council houses, tourism is up by 41 per cent due to the “bold and ambitious” Helix and Kelpies projects and over £55 million of investment is bringing jobs.

Central Scotland Labour MSP Richard Leonard MSP claimed: “This is the manifesto of a party brimming with new ideas, rooted in traditional Labour values and offering the people of Falkirk a vision of hope.

“It is a vision of a Living Wage economy, new investment in public transport and housing and a council which works with industry and unions to secure high quality jobs to give our young people hope for the future. It is about a council committed to meeting the real and urgent needs of the people of Falkirk, not one dragging us back to the old Tory divisions of rich against poor or the old SNP divisions of Scotland against England.”

Last week the SNP said it is the party to take Falkirk district forward after two elections that resulted in “sterility”.

Group leader Cecil Meiklejohn outlined plans to tackle housing, social care, education, crime, jobs and economic issues.

She claimed over the last decade Falkirk Council had been inefficient, new council housing had only been possible thanks to SNP Government grants, the elderly and disabled had been targeted by the Tories and education had seen the benefits of the innovative work carried out by the SNP administration between 2001 and 2007.

Mrs Meiklejohn said: “May 4 is the chance to put a progressive administration that better represents the people of Falkirk district in place.

“Our manifesto contains initiatives and policies designed to help us through Tory austerity. At their core is the need to work with partners in a collaborative manner while striving to eliminate waste such as the £1 million incurred by Labour on their suspended headquarters project.”