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Council Elections - Thurso - Roger Saxon - Labour

14th April 2012

Photograph of Council Elections - Thurso - Roger Saxon - Labour

My name is Roger Saxon, I'm standing as the Scottish Labour candidate for Thurso ward. A little bit about me. My family moved to Thurso in 1960, at the time of Dounreay expansion and job creation. I have been a Dounreay worker for 47 years and seen it come full cycle. I met my wife here, and my 2 children were raised here. My family ran the 'Wee Shop' in Scrabster, which was started by my late parents and my wife ran the 'Peerie Caf', often with help from the kids in the holidays. I have always been active in the community - when my children were at school it was PTAs, school boards and Scouts.

Now, I'm chairman of HomeAid, Thurso Youth Caf and Caithness Horizons Collections Trust, Vice-chairman of Caithness FM, secretary of Thurso-Brilon town twinning and member of Pentland Community Enterprises. I'm a community member of the University of the Highlands and Islands Foundation and also a Rotarian. My long association with these organisations demonstrates my commitment to community life and gives me the experience and contacts that count.

I'm asking you to vote for me because I have the energy, experience and fresh ideas to make Thurso thrive. I believe councillors need to work hard for the people of Thurso. This means listening, understanding what matters to you, and then delivering.

I believe in these simple principles:
* Listening - We need councillors to listen more to what the public want and explain decisions more effectively.
* Speaking up - We need local councillors who will speak up more for Caithness and work better together for the good of Caithness. We need community leadership that has been woefully lacking recently.
* Keeping it local - We need to bring decisions back to a local level. We need to empower communities and devolve decisions. We need to listen to and respect our community council.
* Sorting it out - We need councillors who understand the issues and get them sorted as soon as possible. If elected, I will hold regular monthly surgeries and always be available for anyone in the Thurso ward to speak to.

As I see it, there are a number of key issues which need to be addressed: the Dunbar review; the mart site development; road safety and reducing accidents; jobs in Thurso and the Caithness area and the continual rising energy prices which affect everyone. I will briefly go through each of these in turn to give some more information about my views and what I believe needs to be done to address these key issues.

Hands off our Dunbar!
Dunbar has been under review for far too long. The community have clearly said that they want to retain the minor injury unit, plus respite and palliative beds at the disposal of local GPs. The current plans include no beds and no A&E. It's our NHS - it needs to be more local and accountable.

An end to Tescopoly
TESCO's planning permission is past its 'sell by' date. It's now clear that the communities' original suspicions of land banking were true. TESCO are currently rolling in money and could easily afford to build the promised supermarket and petrol outlet. As recently as 5th March, they were announcing 20,000 new jobs in the UK. Thurso could do with its share of these. I am calling on TESCO to landscape the area and bring forward their plans. If they are not forthcoming, I will press for withdrawal of their planning permission and ultimately compulsory purchase so that the land can be released for another development, for example a smaller 'express-sized' supermarket with a petrol outlet plus a shopping mall along the lines of the one at Wick. Its time someone stood up to big developers playing tescopoly with our town. I have contacted the campaign website www.tescopoly.org and they have asked to be kept posted on developments.

Policing
Creating a single police force for Scotland is just one more example of creeping centralisation. We need to set up county-scale police committees to interface with area commanders. I want to see more visible policing 'on the beat' and to retain the Thurso police station. I also want the new police authority to locate some of its 'back room' functions here in Caithness, where we have the professional labour pool to run functions like IT support, for example.

Jobs
Unemployment is rising, there are now five people chasing every job vacancy in Highland. The next few years will see the start of serious job losses from the Dounreay 2025 rundown and outward migration as nuclear power plants start construction in England. We won't be able to replace all of these jobs. However, I will support local, sustainable employment and provision of high quality training to give people a chance, particularly the young. We don't want to see all our young people leaving the area because there is nothing for them. We need to fight to get more job opportunities for the area, now and in the future.

Road Safety
We need to prevent tragedies. I believe we should set up a pilot project to install average speed cameras on some of our rural roads, to see if we can prevent these tragedies. If elected, I will work with MSP David Stewart on his 'sensible driving - always arriving' campaign www.sensibledriving.org. I also think we need to improve on road design such as blind dips or corners which are a contributory factor to accidents.
I would like to see more 20 mph homezones in Thurso, with traffic calming where it's needed. We also need much more attention to road and pavement maintenance. I will campaign to take back our Thurso streets under council control - the A9 section through Thurso - because I believe the council would do a better job than Transerve who currently manage the trunk road.

Keeping Warm
Energy prices are an issue for everyone these days and there are real fuel poverty issues in Thurso. I would work to set up home energy purchase schemes to allow people to get the keenest prices for their energy. I believe community purchase would help reduce home heating costs.

First time voters
If you haven't voted before, I urge you that now is the time to start. I firmly believe that local councillors can make a difference to local issues that affect you, your family and community life in Thurso. The new system of voting means that everyone has choices, which you rank in order of preference. Three councillors will be elected for Thurso, dedicated to helping improve life in Thurso and address key issues which affect everyone, as I have outlined above. I sincerely hope to be one of those three elected.

Why does voting Scottish Labour make a difference to you?
Labour councillors have worked in coalition with other parties on Highland Council and will do so again. Labour values of fairness, equality and social justice would be my guiding principles in representing you. Our Highland Labour pledges are:
* Jobs, skills and opportunities for young people
* Affordable childcare and early years education
* More affordable housing
* High quality, reliable public and community transport
* Close cooperation with the voluntary sector
* Respect, support and dignity for our old people

For more information about the Highland Labour Manifesto, please access: http://www.cserlabour.org.uk/

A BIG Thank you
Thank you for taking the time to read this. If you have an issue or concern, please contact me. Find me on Facebook www.facebook.com/RogerSaxonForThurso,
email me: rogersaxon[AT]membersnet.labour.org.uk
or phone 01847 893826.

Roger Saxon, Scottish Labour Candidate for Thurso Ward.

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