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Who will you vote for? Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross candidates share their top priorities


By Scott Maclennan

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Voters go to the polls this Thursday. Scott Maclennan asked all seven candidates for the Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross constituency for their top three priorities should they be elected.

Lucy Beattie, SNP

Lucy Beattie, SNP.
Lucy Beattie, SNP.

If a Labour Government is to be returned to ask that they headquarter their proposed GB Energy in Caithness. If the Highlands is a next exporter of energy the jobs associated with this should be retained. I would boldly suggest that this is a way to tackle “trickle down” repopulation.

Engage with OFCOM to ensure that digital connectivity is delivered in a way that works for those rural communities that need digital upgrades. The shared rural network was not consulted upon properly and this scheme needs to be implemented with sensitivity and pragmatism.

Continue to call for an international response for a humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza and the cessation of the sale of arms to Israel. Fifteen thousand children have died to date. The situation is beyond belief and now the region is facing fierce heat and associated health issues from dehydration and disease. This is unconscionable.

Steve Chisholm, Alba

Steve Chisholm, Alba.
Steve Chisholm, Alba.

The Alba Party offers a clear plan to achieve Scottish Independence. Support for independence remains at over 50% in Scotland despite much lower polling figures for the SNP. The Alba Party is the natural home for those seeking an early and clear path to Independence.

Inward investment opportunities total over £3 Billion in value and would bring over 10,000 well paid, sustainable jobs to halt the curse of depopulation. As your MP I will work to ensure we have real economic growth in the Highlands, across the length and breadth of the constituency.

Fulfilling this potential requires that we address the housing crisis here in the Highlands and invest in our education, health and our transport infrastructure. Alba understands how to create and support real economic growth and deliver a brighter, more prosperous future for our young folk and future generations to come.

Fiona Fawcett, Scottish Conservatives

Fiona Fawcett, Conservatives.
Fiona Fawcett, Conservatives.

To call for an immediate moratorium and full independent Public Inquiry into all Highland Renewable Infrastructure Projects and to call for a Highland Energy Strategy which looks at our contribution to national energy generation and rewards us accordingly and stop us being run by the Central Belt.

To bring hope to our children with more teachers along with better school facilities. To give the young a reason to stay with quality affordable local housing, well paid jobs and skills training. To improve access with safer roads, local transport and flourishing road, rail and air links.To bolster business by giving them stability and support.

To create a healthcare Golden Circuit to attract more top quality doctors, nurses and carers and give them a reason to stay. To drastically improve the provision of specialist services delivered locally.

Eva Kestner, Labour

Eva Kestner, Labour.
Eva Kestner, Labour.

Stabilise the economy

We must end the economic chaos of recent years and create the resources to rebuild public services, ensuring people can live securely. By implementing tough spending rules, we will grow our economy while keeping taxes, inflation, and mortgages low. This stability is crucial for families and businesses alike

Invest in NHS

Our NHS is in urgent need of investment and change to support patients and staff, its broken here in North Highland. Scottish Labour will fund 160,000 additional appointments annually, financed by cracking down on tax avoidance and non-dom loopholes. Every individual deserves access to adequate healthcare.

Establish GB energy

Transforming our energy industry is crucial so people no longer choose between eating and heating. Publicly owned GB Energy will protect our communities and climate, ensuring a sustainable future with energy security. Highlanders will benefit from development through supply chain jobs, cheaper bills, and community investment.

Sandra Skinner, Reform UK

Sandra Skinner,Reform UK.
Sandra Skinner,Reform UK.

Jobs:

Reversing Highland depopulation requires improved employment opportunities, both to encourage our young people to stay and offer attractive opportunities for others to move north.

I’m committed to raise political support to stand against cheap foreign labour and ensure freedom from EU Regulations is used to secure local jobs from taxpayer subsidised projects.

Energy Security:

Energy security is a priority, particularly in a time of rising tensions around the world. We are an energy rich nation, oil, gas; nuclear and renewables – nothing should be off the table.

Mainstream parties obsess on unaffordable, unachievable CO2 targets, only Reform representation in Westminster will challenge this narrow group think.

Economy:

Economic growth is essential to repair our failing public services. Lobbying for the high growth, high wage, low tax strategy proposed by ReformUK, raising the basic tax threshold to make work pay, lowering energy bills and removing small businesses from Corporation Tax will deliver the growth essential to benefit all.

Jamie Stone, Liberal Democrats

Jamie Stone, Liberal Democrats.
Jamie Stone, Liberal Democrats.

Securing high quality local employment

I started my working life with high quality local employment - Kishorn and Nigg. Because of this, I brought up my family locally. For this reason, I endeavour to secure local high quality, well-paid employment opportunities for today’s young. It is the only way of halting the curse of Highland depopulation.

Improving our health services

We need to fix our NHS services in the Far North. The staff are superb, but the ability to see them quickly and locally is the problem. I will continue to highlight this problem - which concerns every single person. It is a matter of life or death, it cannot be ignored.

Being a strong local voice

In the Commons, I have always spoken up without fear or favour about the needs of local people in the Highlands. If it means criticising my own side - then so be it. If re-elected, I will continue to do exactly the same.

Anne Thomas, Scottish Greens

Anne Thomas, Scottish Greens.
Anne Thomas, Scottish Greens.

Tackling the climate and nature emergencies.

If we don’t tackle the Climate and Nature Crises fast, we face even more unpredictable and extreme weather, flooding and droughts, reducing food production, destroying buildings and infrastructure and displacing millions around the world. This will undermine everything else we do. Not tackling it will cost far more.

A fairer tax system, including a wealth tax and basic income, so nobody falls through the cracks. The current tax system means the poorest pay a much higher proportion of their income and there is growing inequality. Over the last 14 years we’ve seen the rich get richer and the poor unable to heat their houses and having to use food larders run by volunteers like me.

A just green transition, creating thousands more jobs, reducing energy bills and benefiting communities but done with proper consultation and no new oil, gas or nuclear.

Greens want community or publicly owned clean energy. We need a just transition from oil and gas, transferring people to green jobs without the freeport’s tax give-aways or dirty nuclear. New green energy generation, infrastructure and storage is needed but working with communities to minimise the effect on them and nature.


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