This May people across Scotland will go to the polls to elect their local council.
The SNP are fielding a record level of candidates - 627 - who are standing for election to council chambers across Scotland. They are all dedicated local campaigners who believe passionately in protecting local services and empowering communities.
Women make up 54 per cent of new candidates standing, and overall there’s been a near doubling of female candidates, with women making up 41 per cent of all SNP candidates.
Our candidates are ready to work to deliver key priorities such as expanding childcare and closing the attainment gap. Here are just five policies they will support.
1. A transformation in early learning and childcare.
SNP councils will work with the Scottish Government to transform the provision of early learning and childcare. By 2020, we will have extended entitlement to free early learning and childcare to all families with three and four year olds and eligible two year olds.
This provision will be flexible and delivered in a way which best suits parents and families' needs, with parents able to choose how to access their 1140 hours and funding following the child to maximise choice.
2. Investing in our schools to give every child in Scotland the best start in life.
We’re prioritising closing the attainment gap and giving more power and resources directly to schools, to allow teachers, parents and communities to make the best decisions for their schools.
3. An increase in affordable housing.
SNP councils will work with the Scottish Government and housing associations to deliver 50,000 affordable homes, of which at 35,000 will be for social rent, by the end of this Parliament.
4. More money for local communities to deliver local priorities.
SNP councils will work with citizens and in communities to take the best actions for the local area and put people at the centre of our decisions. We will devolve 1 per cent of each council’s budget directly to communities in the area, giving citizens the ability to choose where this money is spent locally.
5. Support for small businesses.
We’re supporting small businesses by extending the Small Business Bonus Scheme to lift 100,000 small and medium sized business properties out of Business Rates altogether.
Local authorities also now have the power to offer targeted rate reductions – to attract new investment, help specific areas or sectors, or to alleviate the impact of business rate revaluations.