I am writing to you as one of the new voters in this Scottish Election.
Three of my four children (aged 16, 18 and 21) have their first
opportunity to vote in MSPs to the Scottish Parliament this year,
and I have been listening to the issues which matter to them and
their friends. Educational opportunity, the end to the exploitation
of young part-time workers, equality and fairness, better public
transport, decent flats which they can afford to rent – these are
all important to the young people I meet.
This election is more important than ever, because the people you elect will have more power to act on these issues, and on many others, than Scottish MSPs have had before.
The big choice is whether we elect people who will actually use the new powers to do things differently and change things.
Faced with the choice between using the powers or continuing to cut into Scotland’s future, Labour’s choice is to use the powers.
Labour will use the powers firstly to invest in education. To give every young person opportunity in life we need to make sure our schools, colleges and universities are properly funded. After nearly 10 years in charge, the SNP Government has cut education and training by 10%, decimated college places, and slashed support for poorer students. That’s not the way to support young people or to grow our economy in the future.
Labour would ask the top 1% to pay a new 50p rate of tax. Instead of making excuses about avoiding tax, it is time that those at the top paid their taxes like the rest of us.
In the Scottish Parliament, we also want to stand up for the issues that matter–
• To save you money we’ll bring in a single contactless ticket you can use on buses, trains, underground or trams
We’ll take on bad landlords and stop rip-off rent rises
We’ll help to double the mortgage deposits of first time buyers
We’ll keep tuition free and reverse the cuts to Higher Education bursaries for the poorest students
We’ll guarantee financial support for Further Education students.
We will also continue our work to stop zero hour contracts.
We will work towards realising our vision of a Scotland based on equality and fairness.
You have two votes in this election – a constituency vote and a party vote. Please consider using at least one to make sure there are Labour MSPs like me who want to use the new powers to stop cuts and change things.
With best wishes,