Falkirk Labour has selected 13 candidates the party hopes can help them it their bid to run the council for the next five years.
The candidates will run under the slogan ‘Keep it Local, Keep it Labour’ in May’s local authority election.
The list of candidates and the constituencies they are running in are: Bo’ness and Blackness – David Aitchison and Michael Burnett; Grangemouth – Allyson Black; Denny and Banknock – Jim Blackwood and Khalid Hamid; Carse, Kinnard and Tryst – Joan Coombes and Martin Murray; Bonnybride and Larbert – Linda Gow; Falkirk North – Robert Bissett and Dennis Goldie; Falkirk South – Pat Reid; Lower Braes – Alan Nimmo; Upper Braes – John McLuckie.
A Labour spokesperson said: “We have a healthy mixture of new and experienced candidates to fight in the nine wards.
“In May, voters in Falkirk face a choice between electing Labour candidates who will stand against cuts to local services and will oppose a second referendum that will further divide our communities.
“Falkirk Labour will be putting forward a positive message to invest in local services like the doubling of breakfast clubs and extra teacher support staff that the Labour-run Falkirk Council announced last month and we will continue our ambitious programme that has seen tourism numbers increase by 41 per cent with a planned £2bn future investment.”
The spokesperson added: “We have had enough of dividing our nation, Labour believes that together we’re stronger.
“Our strong candidates include the hopeful return of popular Provost Pat Reid, former leader of the council Linda Gow, who will stand again in the Bonnybridge and Larbert ward, the strong voice for the villages in the Braes John McLuckie and the ‘father of the council’ Dennis Goldie standing in the expanded Falkirk North ward.
“Added to those are five new candidates hoping to run Falkirk Council – the hopeful return of former Councillor Khalid Hamid in Denny and an experienced health care manager Martin Murray in the Tryst ward.
“Bo’ness will be contested by two new Labour candidates David Aitchison, who has a passion for community spirit, and Michael Burnett who coaches a local youth football team.
“The last new candidate is Robert Bissett who is standing in Falkirk North and is a qualified health and safety manager.”
Falkirk Labour say they can point to a number of achievements during the past nine years of their administration that they hope will show voters they are fit for another fiver years in charge.
Councillor Craig R Martin, who is not standing again in this election, said: “Over the years of Labour running Falkirk Council we have directed investment to boost tourism, encouraged businesses to move to Falkirk and invested in young people.
“This strategy is paying off, tourism is up 41 per cent and spend by tourists in the Falkirk area is up 45 per cent over the last 6 years with hundreds of new jobs created.
“This is because Falkirk Labour were bold and brave enough to invest in the Helix and the Kelpies, which the opposition said was a waste of money. Falkirk Labour also created a TIF scheme (Tax Incremental Finance) where Falkirk Council invest £67m into infrastructure. The council gets to keep the business rates of new companies that move to the area.
“The improvements are taking shape and businesses, such as BP, Forth Ports, Calachem and Ineos are investing £2 billion. With our aim of creating an Investment Zone, like the City Deals, it’s no wonder businesses are moving to Falkirk.
Falkirk Council is seen as an exemplar for getting young people into employment, including 5000 modern apprenticeships, and has won the Scottish Employer of the Year award for apprenticeships.
“Since coming to power 10 years ago Falkirk Labour has dramatically reduced NEET levels (Not in Education, Employment or Training) from 30 per cent to only five per cent.
“This continuous investment of nearly £4m each year helps young people get a fair start in life. The Future is Bright For Falkirk.”
Dr Martin also said 500 new council houses have been built, more than 200 ex-council homes brought back into public ownership, as well as 300 socially rented properties built, resulting in 1000 new council or affordable rent accommodation in Falkirk.