SNP pledges on school meals and mental health ahead of West Lothian Council election

West Lothian’s SNP group has promised to end music tuition charges, fully fund free school meals and enhance mental health care if they win the coming council election.

Their manifesto, launched last week, promises an end to “top-down” delivery of services and for councillors to listen to what communities want.

The party promises changes to the committee structures to allow greater public access and inclusion in decision making.

There are also bold promises on education, with a commitment to ensuring the abolition of music tuition charges, fund free school meals for all children in primary nursery and special schools and to support initiatives to ensure every child has access to counselling.

The council elections will take place on May 5 across Scotland. For more information about the vote in West Lothian, go to www.westlothian.gov.uk/vote-local-2022.

On housing, it commits to building 1,000 new energy efficient social homes

There is also a promise to work in partnership with other social housing providers to maximise the number of homes for rent and to work with the Scottish Government and the energy suppliers to reduce the tariffs on pre-paid card meters.

The administration would also “immediately install solar panels and battery storage on all new council housing and commence a retrofit programme to existing stock.”

To improve the lived-in environment the manifesto also promises a review of the council’s Anti-social Behaviour policy.

Backing the development of a National Care Service the SNP calls for a refocus of the Integrated Joint Board to promote further integration of health and social care provision specifically to tackle the pressure on GP services, reduce bed blocking and care at home. There is also a commitment to enhance community centred mental health care.

For voluntary organisations there is the promise of prioritisation of the local third sector in any competitive bids. The party also commits to increase funding for the sector.

Speaking at the launch, group leader Janet Campbell said: “The SNP want to work with the communities in West Lothian who know best what the priorities are for their area, not provide services in a top-down way.

"We want to harness the tremendous capacity that exists in our communities and work in partnership to create the services that local people deserve.”

On the growing pressure on the built and natural environment, Councillor Diane Calder said: “An important aim of an incoming SNP administration will be the protection of our environment – both urban and rural – from damage, over-development and exploitation.

"We are committed to the many volunteer groups who care for our natural environment and will ensure their voices are heard within West Lothian Council.”