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SNP challenge Labour over Council Tax freeze

The SNP Council Group Leader Brian Collins has challenged the Labour Party to state whether or not they would increase Council Tax if they had the opportunity to do so.

“In his news release Ronnie Nicholson talks about people in Dumfries & Galloway receiving a real-terms discount to the Council Tax of 25%. I can assure him that is doesn't feel like that for hard-pressed Council Tax payers across this region, many of whom will be struggling to pay the bills as we head towards Christmas.

“Mr Nicholson has said often that it is a disgrace that this region has the lowest average wages in Scotland – and he is quite right. Now he seems to be making the case for a 25% increase in Council Tax. If that is indeed his intention it's high time he came out publicly and said so.

“He may wish to bear in mind though that not only do we have low average wages, more than 40% of households in Dumfries & Galloway are in fuel poverty. Right now people are facing the choice between heating and eating. And this region is not immune from the spread of foodbanks either. If anything their use is on the increase and they are spreading right across Dumfries & Galloway.

“Of course Mr Nicholson is trying everything he can think of to distract attention from his draft budget, which will be published this week and looking to pin the blame for the region's financial difficulties on the Scottish Government.

“He makes no mention of the savage cuts imposed on Scotland's devolved budgets by the Westminster Government, which now run into the billions, He certainly won't mention that the Labour Party has already pledged to match Tory austerity if they win the General Election next May. And he airbrushes out of history his own role in the last Council Tax setting in Dumfries & Galloway in 2006, when he teamed up with the Tories to keep the Council Tax low and made a virtue of the move.

“This is a Council Leader casting about to blame anything and anyone he can – but it won't wash with the people of Dumfries & Galloway.”

– Cllr Brian Collins

Alex Salmond: 'No ambition to lead SNP Westminster group'

Alex Salmond no planning to lead SNP at Westminster Credit: PA/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Alex Salmond says he has no ambition to lead the SNP Group at Westminster after declaring he is standing to become an MP.

The former First Minister is hoping to represent the Gordon seat in Aberdeenshire, which includes part of his current Holyrood constituency.

Mr Salmond stepped down as First Minister and the leader of the SNP party last month, after the Scottish people voted "no" in the independence referendum.

  1. National

Salmond confirms candidacy for a seat in Westminster

Alex Salmond has confirmed his candidacy for a seat in Westminster at next year's General Election.

Former Scotland First Minister Alex Salmond speaking in Aberdeenshire. Credit: Pool

The former Scotland First Minister formally announced his hopes to become the SNP's candidate for the Gordon constituency at an event in Aberdeenshire.

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Alex Salmond to stand for Westminster seat

Former First Minister of Scotland Alex Salmond has announced his candidacy to run for Westminster in the Gordon seat.

Speaking in Ellon to a meeting of his local party he said:

"Almost twelve weeks ago I stepped down as First Minister. I said that I believed that Scotland could still emerge as a winner from the referendum process.

“It is now clear what we have to do as a country in order to secure that progress; the progress which we were promised.

"It is incumbent on all of us to step up to the plate – to match the spirit being shown by the people. Therefore I can tell the constituency today that I am a candidate for the SNP nomination for Gordon.”

– Alex Salmond MSP, Former First Minister

Alex Salmond to announce bid for Westminster seat

Scotland's former First Minister Alex Salmond is to launch a bid to win a seat at Westminster in next year's general election.

Mr Salmond stepped down as SNP leader and First Minister last month.

It is understood he will stand in the Gordon constituency, a seat that shares some areas with his Aberdeenshire East Holyrood constituency.

Mr Salmond will set out his plans in a speech in Ellon in Aberdeenshire later this morning.

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