LOCAL Scottish Conservatives say they are aiming to build on their success on May 3.
They are contesting every ward across Aberdeenshire and are fielding the same number of candidates as the last time but with almost 45% of their hopefuls this time being women.
The Conservatives were part of the joint administration that ran Aberdeenshire Council for the last five years and are happy to defend a record of success during that time.
In a joint statement the Aberdeenshire Conservative candidates say they had to oversee a major reorganisation of all council services in order to make the drastic savings enforced on the council by the cuts in funding from the Scottish Government.
The candidates say: “These budget savings have been achieved, and in many cases exceeded, without any significant reduction in front-line services and without the huge cut of staff members predicted at the start of the process.
“We want to continue this good work and will be looking for further improvements in the efficiency and effectiveness of the council while protecting essential front-line services. The local Conservative Group manifesto echoes the party’s National Policy Platform document by putting huge emphasis on the delivery of quality local services and the maintenance of local accountability especially of the new single Police and Fire & Rescue Services.
“We plan to put the ‘Local’ back into ‘Local Government’ across all aspects of the work of Aberdeenshire Council. This was reinforced by Scottish Conservative Leader Ruth Davidson on a recent visit to Mintlaw when she said: “Scottish Conservatives believe in local democracy and local decision-making. A vote for Conservative candidates is a vote to restore local accountability, to empower local communities and to decisively shift power away from government to where it should properly rest, in the hands of local people.”
Scottish Conservatives say are determined to see improved transport links to the north of Aberdeen. They have campaigned for years for infrastructure to be built before or in parallel with new developments. The party says it is determined not to repeat the “all too familiar problems of the past” of having acres of houses with no local shops or services and without sufficient spaces in the local school.
The candidates say: “Most of the developments in the new Local Development Plan cannot be delivered without the AWPR being built and they will ensure that no significant house building is allowed unless this vital road link is in place.”
Mid Formartine Councillor and Conservative Group Leader Jim Gifford is adamant about this: “We have for years allowed houses to be built without ensuring that the local services and transport links were in place. We all know that every house built north of Aberdeen just means more traffic sitting in the daily traffic-jams at the Bridge of Don and Dyce. We just cannot let that happen any more and the Conservatives on the new Council will make sure that it doesn’t happen.”
Aberdeenshire Conservatives are also promoting “Local Homes for Local People” which will see the introduction of an additional points allocation to help local people get access to local council houses.