By a Newsnet reporter
The SNP candidate for the Dunfermline by-election has vowed to protect what she called “the peoples policies”.
Shirley-Anne Somerville has today highlighted the need for an SNP vote in Dunfermline to ensure the continuation of policies which she said are threatened by all other major parties.
Ms Somerville said that the continuation of the Council Tax freeze, free personal care for older citizens, no tuition fees for young Scots, free bus travel for the over-60s, and no bridge tolls across the Forth are vital for the people of Dunfermline.
In a statement today, the SNP candidate pledged to fight Labour run Fife council’s planned school closures, which she was already campaigning with local parents against.
Ms Somerville said: “Local schools are not the only key provision which require an SNP vote to protect. The Council Tax freeze, free personal care for older citizens, no tuition fees for young Scots, free bus travel for the over-60s, and no bridge tolls across the Forth are only guaranteed a secure future by voting SNP in the by-election.”
In a signal that the nationalists see Scottish Labour threats to universal services as a key area in the by-election contest, she added:
“It is a year on from Labour leader Johann Lamont’s shameful adoption of the Tory language of a ‘something for nothing’ culture, and Labour’s Cuts Commission threatens each and every one of these people’s policies that families in Dunfermline reply on.
“Given the scale and depth of the Tory and Lib Dem austerity cuts and the impact they are having on family budgets, the people’s policies delivered and protected by the SNP are needed more than ever.”
The by-election was called following the resignation of disgraced former MSP Bill Walker who was jailed last week after being convicted of domestic violence.
Shirley-Anne Somerville is standing for the SNP with Labour fielding Cara Hilton. The Scottish Green Party’s candidate is Zara Kitson with Susan Leslie for the Lib Dems and Tory James Reekie.
MEANWHILE, there was a boost today for Dunfermline with news that online retailer Amazon is set to hire 1500 additional staff in the area over the Christmas period.
Amazon has announced that it will create 1,500 temporary jobs in Dunfermline, a further 1,000 in Gourock and 200 in its Edinburgh customer service centre to deal with the increased demand during the run-up to Christmas.
Amazon’s fulfilment centre in Dunfermline is the biggest in the UK and was brought to Fife with the help of Regional Selective Assistance from the Scottish Government. Labour figures have consistently attacked efforts to bring Amazon jobs to Scotland, despite the company being one of the biggest employers in the areas it operates.
Welcoming the news, Ms Somerville said:
“Today’s announcement is good news for people in Dunfermline, Gourock and Edinburgh. It means that 2,700 people who would otherwise be out of work over Christmas will have jobs and an income in the coming months.
“It is a welcome boost to the local economies in these areas and to the household budgets of the many people who will be taken on.
“It is also further vindication of the SNP Government’s investment in helping Amazon to bring more jobs to Scotland.
“Given Labour’s past negativity towards the jobs Amazon has created in Scotland, they should make clear whether they now recognise that today’s announcement is a positive one.
“Instead of sniping from the sidelines, Labour need to recognise that the jobs created in these communities are extremely welcomed and should clearly be recognised as such.”
Earlier this year Scottish Labour attacked the amount of grant awarded Amazon by the Scottish Government. Labour’s finance spokesperson Ken Macintosh attacked the Scottish Government over its use of Regional Selective Assistance (RSA) which helped online firm Amazon bring a significant volume of jobs to Fife.
However it later emerged that local Labour MSP Helen Eadie had called for the grants to be protected.