Elections in May are about local issues, not national issues

I've been really enjoying chatting to many many people on doorsteps over the past few months. The first thing people tend to mention though when you first come to their door is Brexit and the Independence Referendum, the subjects dominating the media right now.

But the most interesting conversations, about peoples everyday lives, happen when you get past those issues and on to local services. You hear about the difficulty of getting a stair adaptation for a husband who has dementia. I listen to the woman who didn't realise she doesn't need to struggle to get her bin up the steep grass. I advise her she can call the council and ask for regular help with that. People tell me that the council has stopped maintaining their road and won't provide a salt bin which means they can't get to their work in icy conditions. And I hear how a cancer patient is still waiting to get a ground floor flat at an affordable rent. Everyone is concerned about the lack of things for young people to do and lack of future work opportunities.

Some political parties seem to be focusing their council election campaigns on national issues and referenda. But this local election  is a vote for local councillors who will be looking after our local services and issues that matter in our neighbourhoods and in our daily lives. That is, the schools, the support provided for our most vulnerable people, affordable housing and the local economy.

People want quality local services that meets their needs. This election is a vital choice between starving local services of funds, selling them off – or investing in them to make all our communities better. That is why Green budget negotiations with the Scottish Government prevented cuts of £9.4 million in South Lanarkshire for 2017/18. And that is why South Lanarkshire's first Green councillors will act to put power in local people’s hands and dedicate themselves to protecting and improving local services.