May 7 is decision time as the people of Yate and Sodbury go to the polls for the general election. We’ve given the five candidates running in the Thornbury and Yate constituency at the time we went to press, the chance to present their case to the voters. Here’s what they had to say.
Russ Martin, UKIP Parliamentary Candidate I have lived in Yate for 20 years, I’m standing as UKIP’s Parliamentary Candidate for Thornbury & Yate to inspire change, aged 54 I am separated and currently unemployed.
Working as a volunteer Lay Advisor, I support families during care proceedings, researching and investigating cases of injustice, campaigning for transparency and accountability in the Child Protection system.
My working background is in security and loss prevention management employed in the commercial sector, also training & development; I have run my own consultancy and training business too.
A former Chairman of South Gloucestershire Federation of Small Business (FSB) I held the portfolio for Business Crime in the southwest, serving on the Home Affairs Committee, and have represented the FSB on many other forums too.
Here are some of the areas of concern I am addressing.
Democracy – I will continue to fight for our freedoms that are being eroded by the EU project and campaign to expose and eliminate the culture of cover up and deceit that has spread through the establishment on many levels. We need to leave the EU, control our borders and govern ourselves then we will be free to trade on the world stage.
NHS – I will fight to keep the NHS free at the point of use and paid for through taxation. With a passion for mental health services I will campaign to eliminate the stigma attached to mental health and fight for more investment.
Crime & Justice – I want to see improvements in the delivery of policing, stop the cutbacks, improve morale and improve the standards in service delivery reducing record numbers of complaints, I will encourage crime to be reported, and to be investigated without fear or favour and campaign for more transparency and accountability.
Social Justice – I will continue to fight against injustice and campaign for the rights of families and their children in the Family Courts, especially during Care Proceedings, campaigning to review and reform the working practices of Social Services and the Child Protection system, ensuring transparency and accountability. We also need to abolish the Bedroom Tax.
Steve Webb, Lib Dem Parliamentary Candidate
Having lived locally for the last twenty years, bringing up my family here, and with my children attending local South Gloucestershire schools, it was a great privilege in 1997 to be elected to serve our community in Parliament.
This is a great place to live, but we have to work to keep it that way – and improve it. This means tackling gridlock on our roads and offering people decent bus and rail services, as well as safer options for cyclists and pedestrians. We also need to go on fighting the threat to our treasured green fields – access to the countryside is one of the things that makes our area so special.
I work with many great local voluntary groups, businesses and committed local residents to get things done. We successfully campaigned for new facilities for our towns, such as the ‘cinema for Yate’. We must also make sure that our smaller towns and villages have the services they need, such as local post offices and improved broadband – though the fight goes on!.
I am passionate about quality public services and fought alongside local people against the last Government’s decision to close Frenchay. Now I am working to tackle the problems with the new Southmead hospital. We lobbied successfully for a direct bus service to Southmead, but it still needs improving. We also need more local provision, especially at Yate, better support for mental health, and closer working between health and social care.
Creating opportunities for young people is vital, and I support investment in apprenticeships, including recruiting an apprentice to work in my Yate office.
As Minister for Pensions I’ve made many positive changes including the ‘triple lock’ which protects the value of the state pension, as well as giving people new freedoms about how they use their savings.
Most important has been the chance to help individuals who contact me, often at particularly stressful times in their lives, and to do all I can on their behalf.
With your support, I will continue to serve local people as well as giving our area a powerful voice on the national stage.
Iain Hamilton, Green Party Parliamentary Candidate
I am proud to be standing as your Green Party parliamentary candidate. As your MP, I will stand as a force for the common good. I will not sell out my principles.
People realise that the ‘two party politics’ of the past is not fit for purpose, the present or the future.
A vote for me, is a vote for a fair and equal society. A vote for me will give you a community MP who supports you and what you believe in.
The Green party is a party of the many, not the few. A Green vote is a vote for a fairer government, not a government of big business. I want to protect our NHS and stop privatisation of public services, stop fracking in its tracks and improve our public transport.
Our community deserves an MP who will campaign to end the unfair attacks on the poorest in our community. End the bedroom tax, end benefit sanctions, support those trying to find work, not demonise them- an end to austerity! I will fight for a living wage, not a minimum wage.
Our public services are being cut to the bone while the wealthiest are receiving tax cuts. Corporation tax is at the lowest level for years and is now the same for large and small businesses. This makes it difficult for small business to compete.
Voting Green will improve our community.
I support a referendum on our membership of the EU because I am pro-democracy, not because I’m anti-EU - and because I want to see a radical reform of the way Europe operates.
I will follow Caroline Lucas’s example. I confirm that if I am elected as MP and MP’s are awarded the 11% increase they are expecting in May, I will give every penny of this 11% raise to local charities within my community (£7,600pa)
Hadleigh Roberts Labour Parliamentary Candidate
I believe we can build a social democracy that combines a modern and productive economy and sophisticated public services, where people are treated equally, with dignity and respect regardless of wealth, age, race, sex, sexual orientation or physical ability.
If you fall ill, you should have access to the best healthcare, without worrying about how you’ll pay for it.
If you want to get a good start in life, you should have access to further and higher education without having to take on a lifetime of debt.
If you want to work, you should have access to a good job, without having to take on unpaid internships or be forced to work for free.
This election is a choice between Labour Government on the side of the great body of working people, or the Liberal Democrat & Conservative Government on the side of the others with wealth and power.
A Labour Government built the NHS. A Labour Government introduced the minimum wage. A Labour Government brokered the Kyoto agreement on climate change.
There can be no doubt that this Liberal Democrat & Conservative Government has tried to dismantle the country Labour built: a changed country built on social inclusion, openness and aspiration, and they have failed.
They will always fail because they fundamentally misunderstand who we are as a nation.
As Ed Miliband has said, the Liberal Democrat & Conservative Government “is strong at standing up to the weak, but always weak when it comes to standing up against the strong”.
Everybody has the right to vote for a candidate they have confidence in, a candidate they know is up to the job, a candidate they would be proud to see in Parliament.
I stand for social inclusion; cooperation in the workplace; a sensible policy in Europe; and that our nation’s byword is tolerance.
These are the principles that make me want to be the Labour MP for Thornbury & Yate. They guide everything I do.
I will be an MP who understands others, facilitates dialogue, and speaks up for those who can’t speak up for themselves.
Luke Hall, Conservative Parliamentary Candidate
As a local man who was born at Southmead Hospital and who has lived in South Gloucestershire all of my life, it is a huge honour to stand as the local MP. Living in our area means that I use the same local roads, schools and hospitals as everybody in the local area. I want to make sure my priorities and and plans for South Gloucestershire are clear: I will fight to protect our precious local Green Belt and green spaces
Locally we have seen large developments approved in recent years. As a local man, I am determined to protect our green spaces and green belt. Recently I brought Eric Pickles; Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government to South Gloucestershire to see how development is affecting our green space first hand.
I will do everything I can to help local people get back in to work
I have held a jobs fair and regular Jobs Clubs around South Gloucestershire, and I have committed to holding two Jobs Fairs a year if elected as the local MP, as well as running special sessions to support those with individual needs.
I will fight for better local transport links
The lack of clean and reliable public transport is a big concern locally. I have been campaigning for improvements in our area; and have raised these issues with the Secretary of State for Transport, to ensure that locally, we are not forgotten.
I will support senior citizens in our communities
Supporting senior citizens locally is at the heart of my plan for our local area. I recently held my first Senior Citizens Fair, and am running an event with the Alzheimer’s Society in the Shire Way Community Association on the 2nd April.
This election is too close to call, but one thing is certain, either David Cameron or Ed Miliband will be Prime Minister on May 8th. With the Lib Dems being as likely to back either David Cameron or Ed Miliband, there is a real chance that Ed Miliband could form a coalition government with Nick Clegg and Alex Salmond. But if enough people support me in Thornbury and Yate, you will get a hardworking, passionate local MP and we can be sure that David Cameron remains as Prime Minister.