The SNP candidate for Na h-Eileanan an Iar, Alasdair Allan, has called the SNP’s manifesto a positive vision for Scotland and the Western Isles, and has highlighted a range of policies with particular relevance in the islands.
Mr Allan commented: “The SNP Manifesto is full of new ideas that can have a big positive impact in the Western Isles. From the £5 million fund to support island and regional food products, to the commitment to bring a million acres of Scotland under community ownership, this is a manifesto with rural Scotland at its heart.
“There is a commitment to maintain RET ferry fares, and a presumption against rural school closures, as well as a pledge to remove more small businesses in the islands from liability to pay business rates.
“The SNP is also calling for Scotland to chair the next EU fisheries council, to get a better deal for our fishermen, and calling for a better allocation for Scotland in the next CAP negotiations.
“There will be a a 50% reduction in Air passenger duty, to bring down the cost of flights to the islands.
“Meanwhile island and coastal communities will decide how to allocate the revenues of the crown estate foreshore, and the loan element of the croft house grant scheme will be reintroduced.
“The NHS will be reformed to meet the challenge of an ageing population and further land reform will end the practice of “anonymous” land ownership.
“Taken together with other national measures to double free childcare hours, recruit another 500 health visitors, increase the number of Gaelic speakers in Scotland, fight for a better deal for women pensioners, and extend eligibility for winter fuel benefit, this manifesto shows the SNP is ambitious about using the Scottish Parliament’s new powers, and determined that governing well is the best advert for Scotland having still more powers in the future.
“The full manifesto can be read at http://www.snp.org/manifesto.”