Here’s why these local elections really matter — Scottish National Party

A week from tomorrow – Thursday May 5 – people across Scotland will go to the polls to elect the local councilors who will represent us in our communities over the next few years.

Local council elections across the country are always important because the quality of local services and local representation really matters. This election is no different.

The elected officials and municipal administrations returning next week will have a great impact on our daily lives.

But while all local elections matter – and they do – arguably this one is particularly crucial because of the context in which it takes place.

People are currently experiencing a brutal crisis in the cost of living.

The severity of this crisis is unlike anything most of us have experienced in our lifetime – with skyrocketing fuel and energy bills and skyrocketing food prices.

Many people need help with basic daily needs and many more will feel an impact on day to day living.

This means that politicians, at all levels of government, must intervene.

In my view, we need a pandemic-level response to this crisis. Political will and determination are essential to respond effectively to the challenges that people face.

I am determined that the Scottish Government plays its full role.

With the SNP in government, Scots are already getting free prescriptions, university tuition and eye tests. Scots also pay, on average, lower municipal tax bills than people south of the border.

These policies are important at all times, but at a time like this, their value becomes all the more evident.

The SNP manifesto for this election commits us to build on this and do even more to help.

We have already doubled the Scottish Child Payment and will increase it again later this year.

We are increasing benefits and protecting investments in the Scottish Welfare Fund and discretionary housing payments.

SNP advisers will also prioritize expanding free early childhood education to all one- and two-year-olds, starting with children from low-income households.

They will also introduce a wraparound childcare system, offering year-round, before- and after-school care that will be free for those on the lowest incomes.

Our manifesto outlines plans to build a just, green and resilient Covid recovery in every community in Scotland.

This includes supporting local businesses and creating high-quality jobs, making more progress towards our goal of 110,000 more affordable homes over the next decade, and delivering a national care service to transform how care and support is provided to people using community health and social care.

We will continue to use every power at our disposal to help families through difficult times.

Of course, this cost of living crisis has not started in recent months. It is the result of disastrous political decisions made by Westminster over many years.

Since coming to power, the Conservatives have cut back on living standards and family incomes.

A toxic combination of cuts, regressive tax hikes, rising energy bills and the impact of Brexit has made many families worse off by hundreds or thousands of pounds.

And although the Scottish Government is doing all it can to help, the fact is that most of the key powers and resources to deal with this emergency still belong to the government in Westminster.

However, Tory politicians are so distracted by Partygate that they have failed to deliver a meaningful support package to help families facing crippling price hikes.

So in this election, in addition to voting for strong local voices, we can choose to send a strong message to the Conservative government that there is still a lot to do.

Next Thursday, people across Scotland will have the opportunity to deliver their verdict on the Prime Minister’s antics at the height of the lockdown and his dismal inaction in the face of the cost of living crisis.

The Prime Minister has lost the moral right to govern, and that matters because his constant distractions prevent him from improving the lives of those he is supposed to serve.

Time may be running out for Boris Johnson. But the Westminster government’s problems concern more than one politician.

The Westminster system is broken. It is mired in scandal and sordidness, and members of the British government show contempt for Parliament, democracy and the country.

In these trying times, people, families and communities across Scotland need and expect serious leadership to guide Scotland through the cost of living crisis and into a brighter future.

The people of Scotland face a clear choice on May 5 – it is SNP action and leadership, or Conservative inaction, self-interest, complacency and foolishness.

We can all use our voices to demand that this Conservative government deeply out of touch with Westminster take real action now on the cost of living crisis.

This election is an opportunity for Scotland to demand real support for families and communities here in Glasgow, and across the country.

This article originally appeared in the Glasgow Evening Times.