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Roads expected to dominate election race in Tain and Easter Ross

Tain election candidates have the area's roads firmly in their sights. Photo: Shutterstock
Tain election candidates have the area's roads firmly in their sights. Photo: Shutterstock

Across the political spectrum, the Tain and Easter Ross election candidates are all decrying the state of their roads.

Ward 7 is one of only two areas where all three sitting councillors are standing for re-election. Liberal Democrat hopeful Sarah Rawlings and Conservative candidate Veronica Morrison have also joined the race.

Their politics might be different, but their priorities are strikingly similar.

Fiona Robertson put it succinctly: roads, roads, roads.

Sustained investment needed

Ms Robertson is former chairwoman of Tain and Easter Ross area committee, and is standing for re-election.

Last month, the independent candidate blasted the council for the state of Tain’s roads, saying she is “embarrassed and ashamed” by their condition.

Road with potholes.
Tain and Easter Ross candidates say action is needed to repair the roads. Picture supplied by Fiona Robertson

Asked for her re-election priorities, Ms Robertson put roads top of the list, alongside schools and housing. She also wants to capitalise on local economic opportunities.

“I will provide support for our local businesses, who have suffered greatly through the pandemic,” said Ms Robertson. “I will also work with Global, the Scottish Government and other agencies to bring more quality jobs and apprenticeships to Nigg.”

SNP candidate Derek Louden is also standing for re-election. Mr Louden was heavily involved in the council’s budget process. He said Tain and the wider Highlands needs “sustained investment in roads – at a higher level – for an extended period of time.”

SNP candidate Derek Louden. Picture by Sandy McCook

Mr Louden wants to provide more opportunities for Tain’s young people by boosting local employment, and to tackle the growing issues of fuel poverty and rising prices.

Military approach to delivering results

Meanwhile, Liberal Democrat Sarah Rawlings hopes her army background will help her deliver results in the Tain election. “I’m former army so I have a ‘how can I’ attitude, but I won’t overpromise without having all the facts,” said Ms Rawlings.

Ms Rawlings said she can “feel” the different issues coming through on the doorsteps. Some people are struggling more than others, she says, and this makes her more determined to “get stuck in”.

Liberal Democrat candidate Sarah Rawlings. Picture supplied by Sarah Rawlings

Ms Rawlings describes local roads as “dreadful” and is concerned about waiting times for health services. However, if elected she says she will get a firm grip on the facts before deciding on a strategy to tackle it.

Her Conservative rival Veronica Morrison also takes aim at roads, health and the school estate.

However, Ms Morrison’s campaign brochure does not shy away from where blame lies. It claims that roads in Tain and Easter Ross are “among the worst in the country”.

“Highland Council has failed the people for too long,” it states. “Veronica will fight to ensure that council taxes are spent wisely and that our communities get their fair share.”

The candidates standing for election in Tain and Easter Ross are Derek Louden (SNP, incumbent), Veronica Morrison (Conservative), Sarah Rawlings (Liberal Democrat), Alasdair Rhind (independent, incumbent) and Fiona Robertson (independent, incumbent).

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