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MAREE TODD: Sharp focus on cost-of-living crisis in Caithness

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Holyrood Notebook by Maree Todd

The SNP's Karl Rosie (left) was elected alongside Ron Gunn (Lib Dem), Matthew Reiss (Independent) and Struan Mackie (Scottish Conservative and Unionist) in the Thurso and Northwest Caithness ward. Picture: Callum Mackay
The SNP's Karl Rosie (left) was elected alongside Ron Gunn (Lib Dem), Matthew Reiss (Independent) and Struan Mackie (Scottish Conservative and Unionist) in the Thurso and Northwest Caithness ward. Picture: Callum Mackay

A huge congratulations to all new and re-elected councillors across Caithness! It’s a privilege to be elected to represent your community and I know that each one of our councillors will work tirelessly and in the best interests of their communities over the next five years.

Of course, I’m delighted to see my brilliant SNP colleagues, Karl Rosie and Raymond Bremner, re-elected, contributing to the SNP returning the highest number of councillors in the Highland Council area.

I know both Karl and Raymond are laser-focused on tackling the cost-of-living crisis in Caithness and I look forward to working collaboratively with them on this.

At the time of writing, negotiations on which parties will form the Highland Council administration are still ongoing. In the event of an agreement with the SNP, our councillors will work together to do what’s best for communities across the Highland Council area.

I’m keen to see the ambitious proposals set out in the Highland SNP Group manifesto implemented, which include a commitment to delivering rural bus and transport solutions, attracting inward investment to produce green energy and building more houses to reduce housing waiting lists, to name a few.

In acknowledging the extraordinary context we find ourselves in following Covid-19 and Brexit, the manifesto sets out how we exit these unprecedented times with a clear road map for public services and plans for economic growth to rebuild and sustain our communities. I’m confident that in administration, the SNP group can deliver a positive and inclusive future for our Highland communities.

Turning to the national landscape, this election sees the 11th victory in a row for the SNP, with the most seats won and most gains out of any party, making the SNP the biggest party in 21 councils across Scotland.

For a party that has been in government for 15 years, this is a remarkable achievement and whilst it shows yet another resounding endorsement of the SNP – and for pro-independence parties – it has confirmed once again that Scotland utterly rejects the corruption, sleaze and law-breaking of the Tories. The negligent inaction of the Tories' self-made cost-of-living crisis, which is hammering households across the country, was another clear contributor to the collapse of the Tory vote.

To finish, I’m pleased that the Minister for Just Transition, Richard Lochhead, has accepted my invitation to visit Caithness this summer to consult with the local community and stakeholders ahead of the Scottish Government’s Energy Strategy and Just Transition Plan (ESJTP). The plan, which is set to be published in the autumn, will reflect Scotland’s ambitious climate change targets and the pathways which will enable us to reach them.

It’s vital that industry, business and communities are consulted ahead of the creation of the strategy, particularly in areas like Caithness and north Sutherland where nuclear research and decommissioning have been of huge value to the local economy and community over the decades.

During the minister’s visit, he aims to listen to those most impacted by the energy transition, with a focus on communities, workers and businesses interlinked with Dounreay, to gather lived experiences and opinions on Scotland’s future energy system. The plans set out in the ESJTP will be crucial to the socio-economic future of Caithness and north Sutherland and I’m pleased that a thorough engagement process will be behind the strategy.

I look forward to welcoming the minister to Caithness in the summer.

Local SNP MSP Maree Todd.
Local SNP MSP Maree Todd.
  • Maree Todd is the SNP MSP for Caithness, Sutherland and Ross.

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