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Lib Dems seeing new shoots of growth, says leader

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton urged voters to back his party in Thursday’s local elections (Lesley Martin/PA)
Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton urged voters to back his party in Thursday’s local elections (Lesley Martin/PA)

Scottish Liberal Democrats are seeing “new shoots of growth and renewal”, party leader Alex Cole-Hamilton has said ahead of voters going to the polls.

Campaigning ahead of Thursday’s local government elections, Mr Cole-Hamilton insisted both the SNP and the Tories are “falling back” in the polls.

He insisted it is his party that can “solve the problems” people face “day in, day out”.

His comments came as a new opinion poll placed Anas Sarwar’s Labour Party in second place behind the SNP, with the Scottish Tories slipping to third.

The Savanta ComRes poll for the Scotsman put support for the Liberal Democrats on 10% when people were asked about voting intentions for the regional list at Holyrood, with the party on 7% in the constituency vote section of the poll.

Mr Cole-Hamilton pledged every Lib Dem councillor elected on Thursday will be a “local champion” who will work for their constituents “all year round – not just at election time”.

He hit out at the SNP, accusing Nicola Sturgeon’s party of being focused on independence and arguing it is “time to move on from the division that has held Scotland back for so long”.

The Scottish Lib Dem leader insisted: “Let’s lay aside talk of an independence referendum and get to grips with what matters right now.

“That starts with getting Scotland back on its feet after two years of pandemic and by recognising that our people are facing the biggest hit to household budgets in a generation.

“Scottish Liberal Democrats are seeing new shoots of growth and renewal.

“My party has used this campaign to talk about solutions for the cost-of-living crisis – insulating homes, a VAT cut worth £600, a Robin Hood tax on the energy companies making super profits, and the reversal of SNP/Green rail and tax hikes.

“We want to solve the problems you face day in, day out.

“Putting every qualified teacher to work to cut class sizes and putting new staff in GP surgeries to cut waits.

“That new hope is what you get when you vote for the Scottish Liberal Democrats.”