ALEX Salmond’s SNP yesterday began its bid to break Labour’s dominance of Glasgow politics with the launch of a manifesto promising to put jobs and family first in Scotland’s largest city.
The SNP has pinpointed defeating Labour in Glasgow as its most important target for the council elections to be held on 3 May.
Ending Labour rule in the city chambers of the city would be a massive achievement for the SNP, which has struggled to attract the support needed to do so in the past.
The SNP’s manifesto for the 3 May local election calls on Glaswegians to swap a “complacent” Labour administration for “new, ambitious leadership”.
The two parties offer similar headline pledges to guarantee everyone aged 16 to 24 a place in work or training, to refurbish schools and to maintain the council tax freeze until 2016.
The SNP promises to “focus on the basics” such as maintaining roads, cleaning streets and cracking down on dog fouling and fly-tipping.
Children aged three to four will be “guaranteed” at least 600 hours of free, flexible nursery.
Other pledges include faster assessment and better integrated delivery of care across health and social work, new green energy schemes and improved recycling rates, more open governance and a commitment to a “living wage”.
Nicola Sturgeon, SNP deputy leader and MSP for Glasgow Southside, said: “Glasgow has been run by Labour for decades and they have become tired, divided and complacent. It’s time for new and ambitious leadership in the city and that is what the SNP offers.
“We have a great team and good ideas. Last year we won the Scottish Parliament election in Glasgow. Over the next few weeks we will work tirelessly to win the trust of Glasgow voters so that we can deliver real change for this great city.”
Councillor Allison Hunter, leader of the SNP group in Glasgow, said: “The SNP will never take the people of Glasgow for granted. That’s why we have spoken to thousands of Glaswegians and heard their priorities.
“And this manifesto is the result, with its focus on protecting family budgets, delivering more help for young families and creating jobs and opportunities through education.”
Ms Hunter was criticised by Labour for previously suggesting the election will be a stepping stone to the referendum on independence.
Gordon Matheson, the Labour council leader, unveiled his party’s 100-point manifesto earlier this week. He managed to pass his budget by just two votes earlier this year following a backlash from councillors who were told they will not be standing for the party again.
Last night, Cllr Matheson said: “This rushed manifesto is made in Edinburgh by politicians who don’t understand Glasgow.
“They spend more time telling us how wonderful the government in Edinburgh is than talking about Glasgow, but this is a local election about our city.”
Across Scotland, May’s local elections will see 1,223 councillors elected in 353 wards across all 32 local authorities. Each ward is represented by three or four councillors. Proportional representation is used, so voters rank candidates in order of preference.
KEY SNP PLEDGES
• Guaranteeing everyone aged 16 to 24 a place in work or training
• School refurbishment programme
• Maintain the council tax freeze until 2016
• Children aged three to four will be “guaranteed” at least 600 hours of free, flexible nursery.