THE cost of living crisis and “disgraceful” fee hike for local facilities are the main issues on the doorstep, the SNP’s by-election candidate Katy Loudon has said.

Cambuslang East councillor Loudon told journalists that the SNP finance probe was “not ideal” as the contest to replace Margaret Ferrier kicked off, but insisted that it was not at the forefront of voters' minds in the Rutherglen and Hamilton West.

Speaking to journalists at Healthy N Happy Number 18 venue in Rutherglen on Wednesday, Loudon was asked what she tells voters on the doorstep who ask about the SNP finance probe.

“It’s not an ideal situation,” she admitted.

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“Of course it’s not, and I don’t think there’s any point in saying otherwise.

“I do have to say, genuinely, and we have been out chapping doors and speaking to people, I do all the time anyway in my role as councillor, that’s not what people are talking about just now.

“People are deeply concerned about the cost of living crisis, I see that in my casework load coming in as well as going out and speaking to people.

“That’s what people are concerned about just now and that’s going to be our major issue and our drive in this campaign is looking at how we can support local people.”

The National: The FM and Loudon at the SNP's campaign launch on WednesdayThe FM and Loudon at the SNP's campaign launch on Wednesday (Image: Colin Mearns)

Loudon added that means giving voters a choice between Labour and the SNP, and said she was “proud” of the record of the party in government.

Asked what the biggest local issue in the area is, Loudon pointed to the 114% hike in entry fees as frequently coming up on the doorstep.

We previously told how SNP councillors were “inundated” with angry emails after South Lanarkshire’s Labour minority council more than doubled entry fees for sports and leisure facilities.

“It was a disgraceful decision,” Loudon told journalists.

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“We were talking about grassroots sports clubs, football clubs got a lot of attention, but of course, we're talking about lots of opportunities for young people, dance groups, swimming pools and so on.

“They were facing 114% rises with very little warning. The consultation that they were promised by the Labour administration was a sham.”

Loudon said that she hadn’t seen “so many emails” about a single issue during her time as a councillor.

“It was an absolute disgrace, and it continues to be something that's very painful for these local groups, and it's something that we are tremendously worried about that these grassroots clubs that provide so much value to young people and families in this area, especially during the cost of living crisis as well, families are already struggling.”

The National: Loudon is a local councillor in South LanarkshireLoudon is a local councillor in South Lanarkshire (Image: Colin Mearns)

The FM concurred with Loudon that the “incredible rise in fees” for community facilities was coming up “time and time again” on the doorstep.

He added: “At Blantyre Soccer Academy when we were there, just how often that came in that particular area there so we'll certainly be holding the local council to account as well.

“Katy, of course, being on the council, will be well versed in terms of the actions the whole SNP group has taken to stand up against some of those local issues.”