KEVIN Hutchens, Scottish Labour Party Scottish Parliament Candidate for Angus North and the Mearns, has welcomed the Scottish Labour Party Manifesto as having much to offer to the constituency.
“Fighting for what really matters the Manifesto puts forward a vision that is relevant to all of this beautiful and varied area, from Forfar in the north through to Stonehaven in the south,” he commented.
“There is much of relevance. Unemployment and lack of job security is a key issue for many people in the area, with recent news of job losses in Forfar being very much in the headlines.
“Consequently the key commitments to pursue growth, more jobs and the creation of more businesses is relevant to everybody.”
Mr Hutchens focused on one of the key pledges, which is to guarantee an apprenticeship to every suitably qualified young person who wants one.
“Within this a key priority is to develop new skills in the workforce, particularly in the areas of science, technology,engineering, maths and tourism.
“This will be particularly of benefit to the energy and tourist industry locally.
“New areas that will be developed include that of renewable energy where it is vital that young people in the workforce are prepared for a new era of green jobs.
“I have already been in early discussions with Montrose Port Authority and Salisbury’s as to how this might be made a reality and will be discussing this commitment with other employers in the area over the coming weeks.
“Another commitment that is of particular relevance to the constituency relates to tourism.
“Tourism is both a cornerstone of the local economy and a huge opportunity for growth and development.
“We must not allow tough economic times to halt the pace of progress. I will therefore work with all involved in the tourist industry locally to boost its voice and promote its development.
“Of particular welcome is the manifesto commitment to reduce the duplication between Scottish Enterprise and VisitScotland by making Visit Scotland the lead organisation on tourism development.
“Many people come to Scotland for big events, like the forthcoming Commonwealth Games, but do not always take advantage of the opportunities to see more of Scotland while they are here.
“That is why I am particularly pleased that VisitScotland and Event Scotland will be tasked with delivering a “See more of Scotland “ campaign for event visitors.
“If elected as a Scottish Labour Party MSP for Angus North and the Mearns I will work with the local tourist industry to ensure that all the excellent quality attractions in the community are given the fullest possible publicity through this initiative.
Mr Hutchens goes on to say that the need for affordable housing is relevant as ever to all of the people of Angus North and the Mearns.
“In the north the housing market is particularly affected by the high prices that have emerged as a result of the oil industry, while in Angus the waiting lists show that there is a great need to move developments forward, particularly in the area of affordable rented housing.
“That is why it is crucial that Scottish Labour is given the opportunity to prioritise funding for housing and to develop alternative forms of finance, including the establishment of an infrastructure fund to encourage private developers and ensure more house are built to satisfy demand.
“It will also be welcomed locally that Scottish Labour is committed to ensure that both housing associations and housing co-operatives receive a stable level of subsidy so as they can fulfil their roles as core providers of affordable housing alongside local authorities.”