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Election 2021: Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch candidates tell us why you should vote for them in Scottish Parliament elections


By Scott Maclennan

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Labour's John Erskine.
Labour's John Erskine.

John Erskine, Scottish Labour Candidate

The Covid-19 pandemic has hit the Highlands hard and I want to see a fairer recovery for businesses, communities and families.

The opportunities I had growing up here are now being lost and our young people need hope. My focus is on delivering a National Recovery Plan. We will devolve power from Edinburgh to the people who understand our area best.

I want us to invest in the Highlands to keep our young people in work, helping others to retrain and sustain our businesses. Our education system has let too many people down, despite teachers' best efforts, and we need to focus on investing in schools and moving the Scottish education system to the top of international league tables again.

We need to connect our communities physically and digitally by delivering better publicly owned bus services and improving access to super-fast broadband.

Our NHS has been in crisis and tackling the waiting list backlog needs urgent attention, improving mental health and building a social care system fit for purpose will be our national mission and we need to increase the healthy life expectancy of people living in Scotland.

The inequalitythat existed in the Highlands and Islands before the pandemic has been further exposed by it and I want to see our region recover in a fair way.

The SNP's Kate Forbes.
The SNP's Kate Forbes.

Kate Forbes, SNP Candidate

This election is one of the most important in our history. Emerging from the pandemic, there is a light at the end of the tunnel as the vaccination programme continues at pace and restrictions are relaxed. Now, we need competent, trustworthy and experienced leadership to steer our economic recovery.

My priorities are to get the economy open and trading safely, continue to see investment in infrastructure, particularly transport, and create new jobs. On infrastructure, we will deliver 100,000 affordable homes and continue to dual the A9. I’ll keep pressing for a replacement to St Clement's School. On jobs, we’ll guarantee every young person under 24 years old a job, apprenticeship or education place. We’ll support entrepreneurs with a new Rural Entrepreneur Fund for business in the Highlands or business who want to relocate to the Highlands.

In the last few years, I have represented Ross-shire tirelessly, by listening, acting and delivering results. I have worked hard to be as accessible and visible as possible. By doing that, we’ve seen progress on investment in infrastructure, education and healthcare. I commit to tackling the challenges of the next years in the same way."

The Conservative's Jamie Halcro Johnston.
The Conservative's Jamie Halcro Johnston.

Jamie Halcro Johnston, Scottish Conservative Candidate

The two votes you have at this election are vital.

They will decide whether we spend the next five years rebuilding Scotland after the pandemic, or whether our recovery is put at risk from another divisive independence referendum.

Whether or not we have five more years of an SNP administration in Edinburgh which ignores rural Scotland and which puts the Central Belt first.

As MSP for Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch, I will put protecting jobs ahead of constitutional wrangling.

I will back Scottish Conservative plans to invest in our NHS and tackle the backlog of operations and treatment.

I will back Scottish Conservative plans to recruit 3000 more teachers to reverse the decline in school attainment under the SNP. And plans to invest in local roads and deliver full-fibre broadband across our region.

The success of the UK Government’s world-beating vaccination programme, and furlough support for thousands of local jobs, has given us real hope for the future.

There is so much we can achieve by working together when not distracted by the politics of division.

So I ask you to give your two votes to me and to the Scottish Conservatives to secure our recovery and rebuild our country.

The Liberal Democrats' Denis Rixson.
The Liberal Democrats' Denis Rixson.

Denis Rixson, Scottish Liberal Democrat Candidate

Liberal Democrats want to bring power back to the people. Some things have to be done at a national level but small and local is better suited to the rural Highlands. Look at the village responses to the Covid pandemic! Local communities had their own schemes to look after the vulnerable long before regional or national governments got going.

The Highland economy faces devastation. That’s why we put recovery first – not Indyref2. We need the tourists to come back, and we need to manage that influx. Provide the infrastructure, charge for it, and reinvest. Build a transport network based on hydrogen produced from renewables. Help our agriculture and fishing sectors to produce high-quality food in a sustainable manner.

Diversify where we can. It is not good to have all your economic eggs in one basket. And regulate the housing market so that young locals can work and live here. We need to fix our education system. PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment) is an international benchmark for how our education system performs. The last results (2018) show Scotland behind England in reading, well behind England in maths and science. Our report is not good enough. It’s time for a change.


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