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Council Elections - Wick - Neil Macdonald - Labour

14th April 2012

Photograph of Council Elections - Wick - Neil Macdonald - Labour

I am standing in my hometown because during these difficult times, the people of Wick need a stronger local voice in Inverness. I want to be that voice.

However I also want your voices to be heard. I feel its time the residents have more of a say in local decision making. As part of the council I will fight to bring back powers to local people. I want to build upon existing organisations, such as community and parent councils, by giving them a bigger say in the decision making process. This will help to ensure all decisions are made with local people in mind.

While campaigning, the issue the majority of you have raised with me is youth unemployment. Too many of youngsters are unemployed and fear for their future prospects. I have first hand of experience of struggling to find work at a young age. If it had not been for the Youth Training Scheme, I would never have found work in the Co-op who have provided me with employment for nearly 30 years. I want to give the youngsters of Wick the same opportunity. As your councillor I will help lead a four-year campaign to ensure every teenager who wants to work has an apprenticeship or is part of training programme improving their prospects of a real job, when they leave school or college.

However providing jobs is only part of the deal. I want to see people earn a living wage that would start at 7.30 an hour. This will give everyone receiving it a higher standard of living. Thanks to my time on my Union's pay committee, I would work to achieve this for my constituents. To start with, we will ensure that all council workers are earning this sum. However, I want to see everyone in the Highlands earning this wage. A Labour-led Highland Council will review its procurement, contract and best value policies to ensure that a Living Wage is paid to all third party workers.

Alongside developing real jobs that pay real wages, I want to ensure that there is affordable housing available: be they council homes a housing association or housing co-operative homes. Council tenants are facing rent increases to fund new social housing. I will ensure Wick is included in this new fund. This will ensure that Wick gets new homes and new jobs.

Along with these new jobs and new homes, we need our roads improved. I want potholes dealt with and new methods of speed detection introduced to prevent dangerous driving in and around Wick. As well as improving the road we need to improve the drivers. I would work with Councillor Deidre Mackay to promote her "Driving Ambitions" scheme, which is used to educate young drivers so that they become better and safer drivers.

These are my priorities for Wick. I believe Wick and its people has all the potential; and I would be honoured to be given the opportunity to work for you on Highland council.

Please get in touch at neil.macdonald4wick[AT]gmail.com

Supplied by Neil Macdonald

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