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SNP targets families in battle to win over Glasgow

THE SNP has launched its bid to wrest power from Labour-dominated Glasgow City Council in the local government elections with a manifesto it says puts jobs and families first.

NEW AGE: Allison Hunter and Nicola Sturgeon with a very young supporter. Picture: Kirsty Anderson
NEW AGE: Allison Hunter and Nicola Sturgeon with a very young supporter. Picture: Kirsty Anderson

It promises additional investment in education, work or training places for 16 to 24-year-olds, a drive to refurbish schools, a guarantee of at least 600 hours of free, flexible nursery education for every three and four-year-old and a commitment to keeping council tax frozen.

It also says there will be more transparent governance, with council meetings opened up to broadcasters and the creation of a Petitions Committee, which it claims will give people direct access to decision making.

Glasgow, which has been run by Labour for more than 30 years, is a prime target for the SNP and the party's deputy leader and Glasgow Southside MSP, Nicola Sturgeon, said next month's election was an opportunity to deliver real change.

She said: "Glasgow has been run by Labour for decades and they have become tired, divided and complacent.

"It's time for new and ambitious leadership in the city and that is what the SNP offers.

"I think it is time for change in this city and time for a new broom in the City Chambers."

She said the SNP had won the Scottish Parliament election in Glasgow when the party took five first-past-the-post constituencies and two of the city's regional list seats.

Ms Sturgeon added: "Over the next few weeks we will work tirelessly to win the trust of Glasgow voters so we can deliver real change for this great city."

Other pledges in the manifesto claim to focus on the basics.

These include better maintained roads, cleaner streets, a crackdown on dog fouling and fly-tipping, faster assessment and better integrated delivery of care in health and social work, new green energy schemes and better recycling rates, a commitment to the living wage and no compulsory redundancies.

The SNP also said it was committed to introducing a new deal for more than 60,000 carers in Glasgow.

This would include a Carers' Champion, a Carers' Council to regularly bring together carers, elected members and council officials, a kitemark for city employers who offer support for them, support for kinship carers and financial support for carers' centres.

It said the policies were based on direct consultation with 20,000 people in the city over the past 18 months.

Glasgow's SNP group leader Allison Hunter said it was all fully costed, with the details spelled out by the party in February's council budget debate.

She said: "We all know council budgets are tight, just as household budgets are tight.

"But we can create a more successful future working constructively with the people of Glasgow and with our colleagues in the council and in the Scottish Government."

Labour claimed the SNP manifesto was gaffe-strewn and had been hastily re-written and rapidly thrown together after a draft had appeared online.

It calculated the proposed spending by the Nationalists on tackling youth unemployment was £15.9 million, compared to £31.3m earmarked by Labour.

The party also claimed that, despite the SNP claiming it would guarantee jobs and training for 16 to 24-year-olds, every one of its city councillors voted against the measure when Labour proposed the Glasgow Guarantee in February.

The city's Labour leader, Gordon Matheson, said: "This rushed manifesto is made in Edinburgh by politicians who don't understand Glasgow.

"This is a local election about the future of our city, but many of the promises made today are measures the SNP councillors voted against yesterday.

"There are also very serious omissions which would threaten the job creation schemes that have been working so well in Glasgow."

Ms Hunter said Labour's attack on the manifesto was "desperate and confused stuff". She said: "Labour is so out of ideas for the city it has to resort to yet more negative campaigning."

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