THE latest candidate for the Ardrossan and Arran ward for May’s local council election has been announced.

Arran resident Colin Turbett is standing as a Scottish Socialist candidate.

Colin has been an activist in the area for many years and was, until his retirement in 2015, the Chairperson of North Ayrshire UNISON Branch.

His last job was as a children and family team manager for the council’s Social Services in the Three Towns, ending a council career that stretched back 40 years, including with NAC itself from its inception in 1996. Colin is therefore familiar with the council and its workings and has a close understanding of the pressures and constraints on the workforce, as well as with the Ardrossan and Arran communities served.

Having argued for many years, with both Labour and SNP administrations as a trade union representative, for a ‘No Cuts’ Budget, Colin said that ge welcomes the recent Council budget announcement – ‘as far as it goes that is’.

He said: “As a short-term measure of resistance to austerity and assertion of local democracy, it is good news, but problems lie ahead if a mass campaign involving local trade unions, users of council services and community groups, is not built quickly.”

Colin also believes that local government finance needs immediate reform with the overdue replacement of the ‘regressive poll tax’ with a Scottish Service Tax that will be properly based on an ability to pay.

As an Arran resident for nearly 30 years, and regular ferry user, Colin has been outspoken and active around the cross-party campaign to keep Ardrossan as the main ferry route. He was involved in petition activity for the SSP as well as with other activists, both on Arran and in mainland North Ayrshire.

His party were amongst the first to declare nationally in favour of Ardrossan and he notes with disappointment the ‘local view’ taken by elected representatives from other parties – for Troon if from South Ayrshire, and for Ardrossan if from the North!

Colin believes that a future could be planned for both ports if they, and all other transport assets, were returned to public ownership.

Colin is a supporter of Scottish Independence, from a socialist rather than nationalist perspective, and plans to play a full part in any future referendum campaign.

He said: “This will be based on arguments around social justice and an end to Tory rule perpetuating inequalities that independence could consign to history. Such a prospect could bin the austerity policies that have resulted in massive public spending cuts and job loss - and offer a future where people get the council services they need.”