Improving South Lanarkshire
The top issues have to be tackling the climate change crisis, economic recovery in South Lanarkshire after the pandemic and the growing energy prices and cost of living challenge.
Liberal Democrats have a raft of exciting proposals – making sure the area benefits from green jobs – not least the major opportunities and skills needed for retrofitting older houses; a new generation of new schools where population growth projects require this – in areas like Cambuslang, East Kilbride and Hamilton; our “Safe Routes” plan, to tackle crumbling pavements, making crossings safer for pedestrians, providing more drop kerbs for easier wheelchair access and reducing the use of weedkiller.
We want a timetable to complete roof and roughcast repairs to council houses; moving to wraparound flexible early years care to meet the needs of children and families.
Liberal Democrats want to build on the opportunities available in the area by celebrating the potential of major events such as the 900th anniversary of the Royal Burgh of Rutherglen, considering a South Lanarkshire Certificate of Quality for tourism businesses and aiming to make south Lanarkshire a centre of the Scottish film industry.
Changing Council services
Council services need to change after the pandemic. Waste recycling – still below 50% - should be extended quickly to cover tenemental housing. Elderly care needs new investment and consideration to reinstatement of the lunchtime meals scheme.
On Bus services, we propose a full review of Lanarkshire public transport aimed at a fully integrated system with real time travel information which gets people more quickly to work, college or leisure, re-opening disused railway lines where appropriate.
Public access –the council needs a “human face” and, despite new IT, the public still need ways to talk to officials about problems and to access services in other ways. Liberal Democrats propose the use of jargon-free “Town Hall’ meetings in each locality to let the public engage effectively with the council on key local matters and we propose an effective Question Time at full Council meetings to hold the Administration to account.
Liberal Democrat hopes: at the election:
South Lanarkshire Liberal Democrats are in buoyant mood at these elections, aiming to win a clutch of seats and become a significant force on the Council.
Liberal Democrat Group Leader Councillor Robert Brown was the only Liberal Democrat on the Council when he was re-elected for Rutherglen South Ward at the last election in 2017. However he was joined in 2019 by two new colleagues – Cllr Mark McGeever who moved over from the Conservatives and Cllr Fiona Dryburgh who came over from Labour. The Liberal Democrats, he asserts, have punched well above their weight on the council.
The Party also did well in two council by elections during the last term – in Rutherglen and in East Kilbride where the vote share soared, largely at the expense of the Conservatives.
Robert Brown has knocked doors in half a dozen wards during this campaign and he believes that the Liberal Democrats are winning local election votes from a significant number of voters who normally vote for other parties at national elections.
“We are certainly taking quite a few votes from the Conservatives and Labour – but interestingly from the SNP too. I have a sense that the SNP government are at last getting well-deserved flack for their failings – whether ferries or schools , or just their obsession with another referendum at a time when most people are focused on getting over Covid, rising energy bills or the cost of living crisis.
I think the Liberal Democrats will surprise a lot of people on May 5th in South Lanarkshire.”