RIVAL politicians have clashed in their first public debate in a Holyrood by-election campaign.
SNP, Labour, Conservative and Liberal Democrat candidates challenged each other on key issues in the Aberdeen Donside constituency. The seat was made vacant by the death of the SNP’s Brian Adam.
Central themes ranged from council tax to roads and begging in the city centre.
SNP candidate Mark McDonald faced accusations that the Scottish Government hits Aberdeen with an unfair funding settlement, made worse by the council tax freeze.
He insisted the government is trying to improve taxation.
“When you have a situation where household bills are rising, where we know people who are hit hardest by tax increases are those in the lowest income thresholds – pensioners, low-income families – we need to ensure they have a sense of security around their family budget, particularly when the cost of things like energy is going up,” he said.
Labour candidate Willie Young said the funding settlement was being squeezed.
“It’s unsustainable. What we have said is we need more money from the Scottish Government. Aberdeen is getting ripped off,” he told the audience.