It’s decision day as Scotland goes to the polls tomorrow (Thursday) to elect the new Scottish Parliament.
In this election, voters will have two votes using two different ballot papers.
One vote is for a candidate to represent your constituency (Motherwell & Wishaw or Uddingston & Bellshill); mark a cross in the box opposite the name of one candidate.
The other vote is for a party or independent candidate to represent your region (Central Scotland); mark a cross in the box opposite the name of one party or independent candidate.
Polling stations will be open from 7am-10pm and in both Motherwell & Wishaw and Uddington & Bellshill the constituency is being fought by four parties: Labour, SNP, Conservative and Liberal Democrats.
In 2011 John Pentland replaced Jack McConnell as the Labour candidate and held Motherwell & Wishaw by defeating the SNP’s Clare Adamson by 587 votes, while Michael McMahon was re-elected for Labour in Uddingston & Bellshill as he defeated the SNP’s Richard Lyle by 714 votes.
The Times & Speaker invited the constituency candidates to provide a statement about why our readers should give them their vote.
Motherwell & Wishaw
John Pentland (Labour): As an MSP, I dealt with thousands of constituents’ problems and have always been an energetic local campaigner, including fighting cuts to rail services, policing and the NHS.
Since last year I have argued for the restoration of the GP out of hours service to Wishaw General, which I believe is a battle we can win.
I also took a strong stand against the plan to merge Our Lady’s and Taylor High Schools, consistently opposed the exploitation of workers, got the regeneration of Ravenscraig adopted as a national project and ensured the Scottish Government did everything it could to rescue Dalzell Works.
I passionately believe SNP cuts to education, health and local services should be reversed, the bottom line is we should attack poverty, not public services.
Labour will use the powers Holyrood now has to reverse the SNP cuts so if you want to vote against austerity, vote for me.
Clare Adamson (SNP): We deserve a Scotland that is fair and prosperous with opportunity for us all to grow and thrive.
As a member of the Scottish Steel Task Force, I worked hard to help secure the future of the industry which has meant so much to our community.
Nicola Sturgeon pledged the SNP Government would leave no stone unturned to save the steel plants and I will show the same determination to stand up for your interests.
As a former IT professional, I have encouraged young people to consider careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
Nursery provision has been expanded to 600 hours for all three, four and vulnerable two-year-olds and I welcome Nicola Sturgeon’s commitment to offer new parents a free “baby box”.
The SNP will protect, nurture and grow our precious NHS, and with new powers over tax and social security we can expand our economy and lift more people out of poverty.
Meghan Gallacher (Conservative): Over the past eight years we have witnessed our NHS suffocate due to underspending, a single police force so vast it is beginning to crumble and an education system which fails our young people.
These sectors suffer because the SNP devote their time and effort towards independence, when independence would not favour our safety, education and health.
The polls are suggesting the SNP will achieve a majority government, however, my party are applying for another vacancy.
Labour have been ineffective at holding the SNP to account, but an effective opposition can make a substantial difference in the policies the SNP will try to pass.
My party will stand up for our union and reject the idea of a second independence referendum, giving a voice to the two million people who voted no in the referendum.
Yvonne Finlayson (Lib Dem): I’m not a career politician, I didn’t study politics, but I have been directly affected by the policy decisions made as a result of the last election.
Our education system is chronically underfunded, my twins attend school in Motherwell and my son is in a P4 class of 34, his teacher deserves a medal
That’s why the Lib Dems support a penny for education, we need to address this before it’s too late.
But this highlights just one area of our public services and we need to hold the SNP to account.
Parliament’s own figures show the Lib Dems were the most rigorous at scrutinising the Government in the last term.
Nothing is “free” - budgets being spent in one area means less for another. We have choices, you have a choice and I hope that you choose the Liberal Democrats.
Uddingston & Bellshill
Michael McMahon (Labour): Since May 1999 it has been my privilege to have represented the area I’ve lived and worked in all of my life.
Being part of the community has taught me what matters to local people and driven me to work hard on your behalf.
I’ve always focused on providing jobs and opportunities, especially for young people, and Scottish Labour plans to introduce a top rate of tax for those earning more than £150,000 to help pay for improved education.
To tackle the housing crisis we’ll build 60,000 affordable homes of which 75 per cent will be for social rent and scrap the council tax so 80 per cent of people pay less.
I have always put our area first and if you give me your support again I will fight as hard for you as I have done over the last 17 years.
Richard Lyle (SNP): This constituency means a lot to me, indeed it always has, having served for over three decades in local government, leading the SNP Group in North Lanarkshire and acting as the COSLA SNP Group leader before my time as a Central Scotland MSP.
I’ve championed this area at every opportunity and my first commitment during this election is to always champion this constituency if you elect me as the Uddingston and Bellshill MSP.
Our SNP Government has achieved a lot for the people of Scotland, but we can do more and a reelected SNP Government will work to “Keep Scotland Moving Forward” with policies and a vision of a fairer, more equal and prosperous nation with opportunity for us all to grow and thrive.
I hope to have your support to be a strong voice for Uddingston and Bellshill.
Andy Morrison (Conservative): Being born and bred in Barrowfield in Glasgow I have seen first-hand how both Labour and the SNP have failed to redress poverty, social justice and long term unemployment.
During this campaign I have met a broad range of people who are lending their votes to the Scottish Conservatives, many for the first time.
I appeal to you to consider doing so too because there is a vacancy for a strong opposition, an opposition which Scotland has been lacking the past nine years.
We need a stronger opposition to keep taxes down, restore college places, increase healthcare provision and avoid a second independence referendum damaging economic and job prospects.
I live and work in the constituency as an accountant advising individuals and small businesses across Lanarkshire, and if elected will use my personal, professional and voluntary experience to do my utmost for our community.
Kaitey Blair (Lib Dem): I joined the Liberal Democrats just after the General Election because I strongly believe in what they stand for and their evidence based policies.
I’m very proud to be a member of a party that puts individuals first, cares about the impact we’re having on the planet and looks to the future as well as the here and now.
I am determined to fight injustice and inequality, make further education more accessible, and help set a living wage that is just that!
I plan to promote good health through sport and local initiatives, work hard to ensure mental health treatment is accessible to everyone and be the strong liberal voice for my constituency.
I want to work towards giving more power back to the community so everyone has a real say in what happens in the local area.
Along with Labour, the SNP, Conservative and Liberal Democrats another five parties and an individual are standing on the Central Scotland regional list.
RISE (Respect, Independence, Socialism and Environmentalism) is calling for another independence referendum in the next parliamentary term, plans to raise the top rate of income tax to 60p and replace the council tax with a service tax based on ability to pay. They also wish to 100,000 homes to be built to tackle Scotland’s housing crisis and 100,000 “green” jobs created, while supporting a ban on fracking and the public transport system being publicly owned, integrated and free.
The Scottish Christian Party’s aim is for Christians to work together to bring Christian concern, goodwill and action into the community, education, business and politics.Its vision for Scotland covers rebalancing and redirecting Scotland’s international trade, improving international links, opening the Highlands and Islands to central belt and countrywide trade, banking reform to fund the NHS, schools and social housing, tax reforms so those earning less than £12,000 pay nothing and education reform including creating smaller class sizes.
The Scottish Green Party has made five commitments for a “bolder” Holyrood covering house rents, the police, land reform, tax and fracking. It promotes a campaign for rent controls across Scotland, champions local policing and investment in community, a strive for real land reform including full transparency of land ownership, replacing council tax with a residential property tax including a tax-free housing allowance of £10,000, and a permanent ban on fracking and unconventional fossil fuel extraction.
Solidarity – For Socialism, Independence and Internationalism promotes and embodies socialist ideals and trade union rights. It champions a second referendum on Scottish independence, defying Tory austerity through an alliance between the Scottish Parliament and the 32 local authorities, a ban on fracking and nuclear weapons, the creation of a publicly-owned pharmaceutical company, replacing council tax with a fairer Scottish service tax, cancelling all PPP/PFI contracts and ensuring every company bidding for a public contracts complies with ethical employment practices.
The UK Independence Party wants to see Scottish and Westminster Parliaments working more effectively together. It will oppose higher taxes in Scotland than the rest of the UK, lower business rates and cut red tape, open grammar and technical schools, oppose the ‘Bedroom Tax’, protect the NHS from TTIP, cut stamp duty and regulation for brown field sites to increase housing, ensure veterans receive fast-track NHS care, repeal Named Persons scheme, and protect property rights and Laws of Inheritance.
Deryck Beaumont is standing an independent as he wants to encourage everyone to play their part in creating a fairer society.
He aims to fight austerity and neoliberalism, abolish zero-hour contracts, introduce a minimum living wage for all workers immediately, oppose TTIP, increase awareness of homelessness, build an oil fund for Scotland, remove Trident from this country, promote more sustainable methods of energy, and fight back against those dodging tax.