>> 27 December 2010

Commenting on the news that Aberdeenshire has again topped a nationwide poll as the place which offers the best quality of life, Gordon MSP Alex Salmond has said it's "no surprise" the area has scored so highly.

It is the second year in a row that Aberdeenshire has scored first place in the Bank of Scotland study, which offers ranking in categories such as health, employment and climate.

Mr Salmond said:

“We are all lucky to live in an area that has so much to offer its residents. Gordon is a first class place to live and work with higher than average employment and pay rates, and good health and school results. Low crime rates are also of paramount importance and, since the SNP came to power in 2007, crime in Aberdeenshire has fallen by 23% and police numbers have risen from 1374 to 1557 across Grampian.

“It is great to see Aberdeenshire getting the recognition it deserves as the fine place it is to live, and since 2007 the SNP has proven we are committed to making it even better.

“From abolishing prescription charges, to putting 1000 cleaning staff in our hospitals, to protecting the NHS revenue budget, we are prioritising health care. So too are we protecting businesses, with no fewer than 4501 small businesses in Aberdeenshire having had their rates cut so far, and 4071 having their rates removed altogether. Employment and employability are also key commitments and the 824 Modern Apprenticeships delivered by the Scottish Government in Aberdeenshire in 2009/10 will set a new generation of our young people on a positive career path.

“As we approach the New Year we can be so proud of all that our area has to offer and look positively toward the even better future of which we can all be part.”

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