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MORAY COUNCIL ELECTIONS: Five candidates to contest Fochabers-Lhanbryde ward

By Alistair Whitfield

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A TOTAL of five candidates have put their names forward to contest the Fochabers-Lhanbryde ward on Moray Council.

Voters go to the polls in the local government elections on May 5.
Voters go to the polls in the local government elections on May 5.

Incumbents Marc Macrae (Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party), David Bremner (SNP) and Shona Morrison (SNP) will be joined on the ballot paper by Ben Williams (Scottish Labour Party) and Donald Cameron (Scottish Liberal Democrats).

A total of three councillors will be elected.

Dave Bremner (Scottish National Party – SNP)

David Bremner.
David Bremner.

The predominantly rural nature of Moray, from its coastline to the mountains, that we all love and enjoy, can bring its own challenges, especially in the delivery of council services, and it is vital that we should strive to maintain, and where possible expand and improve those services.

Since the last elections many of the councils services have already been redesigned, not only to allow them to be preserved, but also to modernise and improve them, all against the ever present challenge of austerity.

Whilst much has already been done, or is under way, there is however plenty more to do, and this is why I am standing for re-election. To maintain the momentum for change created since the SNP formed the administration in 2018, to continue to improve council services, and ensure that new and emerging issues such as decarbonisation and the route to net zero are embedded within council policy.

Donald John Craig Cameron (Scottish Liberal Democrats)

Donald Cameron .
Donald Cameron .

I am standing to support the Liberal Democrats. They are the best party, with their principles of fairness, freedom, competence and justice. They are the only party that have consistently moved for fair democratic votes by proportional representation for all elections, as this election now uses.

They have lacked power since most of their class vote left them for Labour in 1922 but their influence is still needed as shown by the recent very poor performances of our present governments.

For myself, I have lived in Fochabers for a long time and am a member of the community council and the village association.

I worked on street lights, moving the High Street speed limit from 40 to 30 mph, getting a pedestrian crossing, seats at the pond and the successful by-pass action group. Currently I am persuading council officers to make the potentially fatal downhill bend on East Street safer with new signs.

Marc Macrae (Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party)

Marc Macrae.
Marc Macrae.

It has been a real privilege to represent my home area in the council for the last five years and I very much hope that I can continue the work I have began and be re-elected as one of the three councillors for the ward.

Having been brought up in Fochabers and educated at Milne’s I am very proud that my own family attended Milne’s High before going onwards to employment and higher education.

Living and working in Moray means that I see the challenges and obstacles faced by many with continued cuts to budgets, and therefore services, affecting us all.

I would like to think that my voting record in the council demonstrates clearly that I have put the interests of residents and the wider Moray community first. I have been under no party whip or external control and have worked hard with other councillors across all parties to do what is best.

Whoever is elected on May 5, I hope all 26 councillors will sit down following the result and listen to each other, communicate openly, and work towards delivering an effective council in its new term.

Shona Morrison (Scottish National Party - SNP)

Shona Morrison.
Shona Morrison.

It has been a privilege to serve as councillor for Fochabers Lhanbryde ward since 2017 and an honour to have been elected as the first ever female Convener to Moray Council since 2018.

The last few years of my term has of course coincided with a period of massive change. Councillors had to respond to the challenges of the pandemic and ensure our decisions protected the wellbeing of the Moray population as well as supporting the impact on our economy.

We still have a long road to recovery ahead.

As the SNP administration, difficult decisions had to be made to begin laying the foundations of recovery.

Despite all of the challenges there has also been the opportunity to transform the way we work through supporting innovation and developing sustainable services in partnership with the people of Moray. I hope if re-elected to have the opportunity to carry these through and hope you will consider voting for me on May 5.

Ben Williams (Scottish Labour Party)

Ben Williams
Ben Williams

As a young candidate from Urquhart, I hope to bring new ideas and new energy to the Moray

Council. Labour has a comprehensive manifesto for these elections with policies that will bring real benefits to our communities.

We will follow the example of Labour councils like North Ayrshire, and develop a Community Wealth Building Strategy for Moray. This will ensure that more of the council’s money is spent in the Moray economy. We will also encourage the Tourism BID to adopt the Real Living Wage, and use this as a selling point for visitors seeking ethical tourism operators.

Labour will prioritise dealing with flooding problems. Moray Labour Councillors will push for swift implementation of flood prevention plans, especially those affecting Garmouth and Spey Bay.

Wherever possible we will support nature-based schemes such as tree planting and using felled trees to re-align the river away from areas of high flood risk.

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