ELECTION 2010: The election campaign has really started now. The candidates are beginning to outline their policies.
Craig Dobson from the Liberal Democrats, Graham Stuart, Conservative, Bill Rigby, Green and Ian Saunders, Labour give their views on key issues below (from news releases and websites):
Craig Dobson on ELECTORAL REFORM NEEDED: At the last General Election, Labour won a massive majority in the House of Commons, even though six out of ten voters actually voted for other parties. In 2001 and 2005, more people who were eligible to vote actually stayed at home than those who elected the government.
In 2005, Labour gained 55.7% of the seats, with only 35.2% of the votes cast. In many seats, MPs were elected with the support of well under half the electorate. In Beverley and Holderness, our MP was elected with the support of just 26.4% of the electorate.
It really is time for a change…. And change is on the cards this time. If our vote share is around 30% or more on May 6th, who knows what may happen?
Graham Stuart on CARE HOMES AND SOCIAL CARE: People should not be forced to sell their home to pay for care in a permanent residential home.
A Conservative government will give the option of a one off payment of £8,000 to guarantee absolutely all permanent residential care fees will be taken care of. The scheme will be voluntary and open to everyone on retirement or at age 65 and, for a limited period, to everyone already retired. So everyone can protect their home if they make the payment.
Finding £8,000 won’t be easy for all but it will protect people’s main asset and become part of the financial planning of every home owning family. It will end the heartbreak of seeing a lifetime’s savings lost because of the need for care.
Bill Rigby on THE ECONOMY: Our policy on the economy starts with some assumptions. Firstly, the present system is bust and is only working in fits and starts. The collapse of last year is just a symptom. The frequent failures come from irresponsible financial speculation (casino capitalism), forgetting that resources are finite, and not grasping the implications of increasing inequality.
The Green economy ties money to goods, resources and services. It promotes equality and fair shares, and balances the books honestly against the future. This is not a doom and gloom scenario. It creates jobs – in abundance, promotes well being and good health and reduces the reasons for international disputes and conflict.
Ian Saunders on FIRST TIME VOTERS: We understand how important you are – we know you are the future of our country. We have a passionate youth section in our party that contributes to numerous causes and issues. This engagement with young people is as visible in our policies as it is in our party.
Since 1997 this Labour Government has invested heavily in young peoples lives:
The Minimum Wage guaranteeing a fair minimum income for all in work – £4.77 an hour for 18-21 year olds and £3.53 for 16 and 17 year olds. The Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA) This is worth up to £30 a week for young people who wish to stay on into Further Education or training. The Right to an Apprenticeship – Nearly 250,000 will start this year and next year we will add another 35,000. University funding – young people from low income families pay no tuition fees and also get a maintenance grant. For families above that level of income there is no upfront payment for tuition fees or maintenance. Students will pay nothing until they leave University and even then not until they are earning £15,000 a year and at a low interest rate.
The Tories have opposed all these achievements!
DO YOU HAVE QUESTIONS FOR THE CANDIDATES ON THESE OR ANY OTHER ISSUES – PARTICULARLY ANY THAT RELATE TO HEDON?