ELECTORS are set to head to the polls today in what will be the first poll in the freshly drawn up Alloa and Grangemouth constituency.

Taking in much of the Wee County from the former Ochil and South Perthshire constituency, the area boundary also includes Grangemouth, Bonnybridge and Larbert following changes put forward by the Boundary Commission for Scotland.

Each resident heading to the polls on July 4 will have one vote to choose between nine candidates who are looking to represent the area at Westminster.

SNP representative John Nicolson was the latest to represent Clackmannanshire as MP of the former Ochil and South Perthshire constituency, a post he took up at the end of 2019.

Seeking votes in Alloa and Grangemouth, he said: "Everybody knows Sir Keir Starmer will enter Downing Street with a stonking great majority perhaps the biggest in history. But big majorities lead to arrogant governments and Scotland will need a strong voice at Westminster.

"There are some important differences between me and my Labour opponent.

"Let's look at child poverty. The SNP Government has introduced the Scottish Child Payment, lifting 100,000 Scottish children out of poverty. By contrast Sir Keir says he'll keep the Tories' cruel two child benefit cap.

"In Scotland student tuition fees are free. Once upon a time Sir Keir supported free tuition too. But now he's U-turned.

"Then there's Brexit. Sir Keir says there's 'no case to rejoin'. Ever. He couldn't be more wrong. Brexit has been a disaster limiting opportunities for young people and hitting businesses hard. I want Scotland back in the EU as soon as possible.

"Sir Keir opposes free prescriptions which we have in Scotland. He wants more privatisation in the NHS. We'll fight him if he threatens our precious public health system.

"Sir Keir used to support renationalising utilities and railways, but he's U-turned on that. In Scotland water is in public ownership. And the SNP Scottish Government has renationalised railways to drive down prices and drive up standards.

"At the heart of this constituency the future of Grangemouth looms large. So let me make my position absolutely clear. Grangemouth is vital not just for the folk who work there but for all of Scotland. In meetings with new First Minister John Swinney I've sought and received assurances he's passionately committed to Grangemouth. I believe if there's ever an imminent threat to the refinery we should take it into public ownership.

"People sometimes say 'politicians are all the same' but I can tell you we are not.

"This election is about getting rid of the Tories. But it's also about values. And ensuring Scotland's voice is heard loud and clear.

"Alloa and Grangemouth needs an independently minded SNP MP willing to stand up to Sir Keir Starmer, stand up for our constituency, and stand up for Scotland."

Sauchie man Brian Leishman will be contesting the newly formed seat for Labour.

He said: "After working in Clackmannanshire for 13 years I've seen the impacts a Tory and SNP government have had on the area.

"I've seen first-hand the consequences of economic recklessness from the Tory government and underinvestment in the vital services people rely on from the SNP in Holyrood.

"People, communities and the country need a change and a Labour government that will make working people better off by increasing wages, lowering bills and investing in our greatest creation, the NHS.

"If I was elected as the Scottish Labour MP for Alloa and Grangemouth within a Labour government then I'd be ideally placed to bring the investment and improvements that would make people and our communities better off.

"A lot of people are disillusioned with politics, it's been toxic. Over the last decade it has been a cycle of anger and division with politicians being too focused on arguing instead of getting on with what they should be doing making things better and improving peoples lives.

"Local people deserve better than what they've had, they need someone who will be visible and accessible in the community and be their voice in parliament.

"Because of this I have ran a campaign that has been positive and putting forward our solutions to the problems we face in Clackmannanshire increasing poverty, poor job prospects, a lack of public facilities, inferior transport and reduced services all need sorted and I and a Labour government will do everything possible to address these issues.

"What we currently have isn't as good as it gets. We can, and we will be better.

"On July 4 we have the chance to change things by electing a Scottish Labour MP and a Labour government that will work for you and everyone in Alloa and Grangemouth."

The Conservative and Unionist Party has selected Rachel Nunn to contest Alloa and Grangemouth.

She has been a Stirling councillor since 2022, working in one of the most deprived wards of the area and said there is a particular privilege in using one's role to help those who really need it.

For Nunn this became apparent when she worked as constituency lead officer for Stephen Kerr during his time as MP for Stirling where her work made a direct impact and positive improvement in people's lives, something she is proud of to this day.

The candidate said she is also a committed environmentalist with a background in energy and transport policy.

She explained she is concerned that there is a lot of talk about net zero and a just transition but there is an absolute lack of a competent delivery plan. A project manager by trade, Rachel Nunn said she will be demanding a focus on delivery whether that be for a country-wide public transport system that meets the needs of people in rural areas as well as cities, or for more affordable housing.

She told the Advertiser she will be pressing for a solution for Grangemouth refinery that will ensure a re-skilling of workers timed to coincide with alternative employment opportunities.

The Conservative candidate also has concerns over other intractable societal problems such as social care, the nation's health, opportunities for young people, the justice system and the resilience of communities which she will want to look into if elected.

She said the kind of transformation that is necessary requires a strong and fair economy to pay for it.

The candidate said: "This is where we have to start.

"And this is why I am a Conservative."

Nariese Whyte will be contesting the seat for the Scottish Greens.

They said: "When you head to the ballot box next month, remember that your vote is powerful. "Don't be pressured into voting for the parties who've failed to meet their previously offered promises.

"The Tories and the SNP have had more than a decade to take action on the cost of living crisis that we face, and Labour are promising more of the same, having slashed their Green New Deal budget proposals in half before we even reach election day.

"We know that new ideas and bold action is required to tackle the crisis that we are facing. Scotland had already, with Greens in government, adopted a position of no support for coal, oil and gas extraction on land. In Westminster we would take this one step further by calling for a ban on coal, oil and gas companies from advertising in the UK.

"The Scottish Greens would introduce a wealth tax on the richest one per cent of the UK, which would generate over £70billion for local services such as schools in Alloa. We would secure the legal right to free healthcare across the UK, including dentistry and eyecare.

"The other parties are keen to make a lot of promises. As a local resident and a wheelchair user, my guarantee is to bring the Wee County the same care and support that we who live here bring one another.

"I'm running for Alloa and Grangemouth because I believe that if we do not take decisive action on the cost f living crisis we face now, which is a by-product of the climate crisis we all face, then we all become active participants in the harm that future generations will experience.

"It's time to vote like our future depends on it, because with global temperatures rising, it absolutely does. Want Green? Vote Green!"

Scottish Liberal Democrat Adrian May has been selected by the party to appeal for votes in the constituency.

He said: "Together we can make this election transformative for Scotland.

"For too long the governments in Westminster and Holyrood have been at each other's throats, trying to score points, while demonising each other. It's the politics of division, of polarisation, and it's entirely self-serving.

"As a Scottish Liberal Democrat, I can speak my mind and truly represent my constituents, not just recite some party line from on-high.

"Here in Alloa and Grangemouth I hear from people who face many challenges in day-to-day life not being able to see their GP, not even getting on the list for a NHS dentist, job worries and future prospects for today's kids, or even just getting about by bus none of which get solved by cutting ourselves off from the rest of the UK, or distancing ourselves from Europe.

"It's been a decade of distraction.

"You would think the Scottish Government would want to champion our self-sufficiency yet they must've been asleep at the wheel not to see coming the downgrade of the Grangemouth plant.

"It's dereliction of duty, and having now slid towards that, it's so much harder to reverse. There is a wealth of engineering know-how in the area that must now be redeployed to other technologies and help take us on a just transition to net zero but that takes a focus and commitment that is too often distracted elsewhere.

"Availability of affordable housing, and jobs paying a living wage these are the basics. And we have to get the basics right.

"Cost of living increases have left everyone, except the mega rich, poorer. We must address the source of these issues as a priority so we can all, finally, move on."

Former Scottish justice secretary Kenny MacAskill will be contesting the seat for the Alba Party.

He said: "As a former MSP, MP and Scottish justice secretary I've experienced many crises. But none as perverse as that we now face in Scotland. An Energy rich land, yet so many Scots in fuel poverty.

"Over a third of households and a quarter of pensioners in extreme fuel poverty. All struggling to heat their homes. It's why independence is essential.

"Scottish oil and gas are fueling the UK Treasury. Trillions have been made. But we face the absurdity of Grangemouth Refinery closing. It'll have severe effects upon other industries in the Forth Valley and across all of Scotland.

"That's why I'm seeking your support to save Grangemouth and push for independence.

"It's not just the loss of jobs for the current workforce but future generations. Many across Scotland learned a trade there. We face a skills crisis, and this will worsen it severely. As with the pit and Ravenscraig closures, all of Scotland will suffer.

"That's why the closure has to be opposed. Its economically catastrophic, environmentally damaging and energy security madness in a troubled world.

"It would leave Scotland as the only major oil producing nation without a refinery capacity. I've been working with the Stewards and campaigners. Scottish oil must be refined in Scotland.

"Scotland's now been blessed with a second great natural energy bounty in the renewables on and off our shores.

"Scotland now produces almost 100 per cent of its domestic electricity through them. But whilst many can see the turbines turning from their door, they can't afford to heat their homes.

"Scotland mustn't become simply a giant transmission or petrol station. Enduring the environmental damage but not getting the economic benefits. Scotland can do so much better than this.

"Energy rich Scotland must mean revenue, jobs, business and affordable fuel for Scots. It's why we need independence."

Alva lawyer Eva Comrie is appealing for Alloa and Grangemouth votes as an independent candidate.

She said: "Born in Stirling, brought up in Alva, where I attended school and I still live and work there. Four decades of legal practice, attending courts in Alloa, Stirling and Falkirk, in cases of crime, family and child law , I recognise the vulnerabilities of local people and the challenges faced.

"Those include generational poverty. Parts of Alloa have 51 per cent of children living in poverty shameful in a land of energy bounty.

"Inequality and hopelessness affect every demographic; most overlooked are single men and women including those described as the working poor.

"Our area suffers the impact of poor mental health, challenging circumstances, addictions, suicides. I know the bereaved and broken. Their losses betray a lack of political will to change.

"The cost of living crisis, fuel crisis, Brexit, inability to control and increase immigration to assist in health, social care and the rural economy are symptoms of the cost of the Union.

"My priorities as a local are : To represent the views, needs and interests of those who elected me; loyal to the people, not to any party.

"To fight for Scotland's Independence at every opportunity for it is only with independence that Scotland will have the government of her choice and the ability to prosper.

"To continue a lifelong defence of the rights of women and girls to single sex spaces, services and provisions including in refuge, prisons, sport and health.

"To ensure the continued existence, improvement and replacement of the Grangemouth refinery; Scotland must not discover oil and become a desert.

"To argue for national housebuilding and energy companies, cut price energy, continuation and expansion of free education as a route out of poverty, for free school meals across all education sectors, and for the liberation of our greatest resource the people of Scotland."

Tom Flanagan has been selected to contest the constituency by Workers Party of Britain.

He said: "The Workers Party of Britain, is the ghost of what the Labour Party used to be.

"Common sense socialism, that puts the workers first. Social traditionalism. Economic radicalism. Foreign policy independence.

"I am the only candidate that is standing on a platform of real redistribution of wealth.

"The only candidate that is asking the rich to pay their fair share. Keir Starmer is a Tory with a red rosette on.

"He can't even bring himself to scrap the two-child benefit cap. Unite the union won't even endorse his manifesto.

"The Scottish nationalists have over seen 17 years of managed decline in government. I believe it's about time workers got their day in the sun. That means reversing the cuts to our public services, nationalising key industries including the Grangemouth Oil Refinery, and rebuilding our NHS.

"I am the strongest candidate in defending the people of Gaza from the genocide being carried out by Israel. The disregard for human life, from the UK government and its 'ally' the United States, has been something that has brought shame upon our nation.

"Human life is sacred, and we should protect it. That means an end to the genocide in Gaza, an end to UK arms sales to Israel and leaving NATO so we can stop being part of the American war machine.

"We are on the side of the people, not the powerful. The many, and not the few. The workers, and not the bosses."

Larbert man Richard Fairley is standing in the constituency as the Reform UK candidate.

He said: "I am a farmer, farming owned and rented land in Larbert, Cambus, Airth and Denny. Mostly growing arable crops with some beef cows.

"I am standing for Reform UK after years of being severely let down with broken promises and mismanagement of the min political parties.

"From Labour's 2008 crash, which we're still paying for, to 14 years of Conservative and 17 years of SNP scandal, high bills, high tax and constant leadership changes I do not trust any of them.

"Reform gives us all the chance for a united change away from the career politicians and put our lives in our hands.

"In Alloa and Grangemouth you have the chance to elect a local guy who cares about his home, friends and neighbours.

"As your reform candidate I will work towards scrapping net zero, all it has achieved is high utility bills for homes and business with the march towards expensive and unreliable renewables instead of using Scotland's abundant oil and gas resources.

"I will also work tirelessly to find a way to keep Scotland's oil refinery open at Grangemouth.

"Without It we won't suddenly stop needing its products but rely on importing likely more expensive refined fuel instead.

"It's not just the direct jobs we will lose but the jobs in the businesses that rely on it for their employment.

"Lastly, and you're perhaps thinking selfishly but let me explain, a fair home-grown food industry where our farmers get left out of the climate debate and get back to supplying us with quality affordable food for our families.

"Supermarket's obscene profits of the past few years being replaced with a fair price for farmers and producers and lower prices for us, the customer.

"The only real change is a vote for Reform UK."