Lynda Donaldson and Kevin Barron both seem to have missed the bit about these mini-manifestos for the Rotherham Advertiser being no more that 500 words, but here we go:
Conservative: Lynda Donaldson.
Statement: Ten good reasons to vote Conservative.
1. Tax Breaks For Businesses
Business has faced some tremendous challenges over the past 18 months with the credit crunch followed by the deepest and longest lasting recession the country has experienced in post war times.
Added to this has been an increasing burden from legislation and an overly complex tax system. We should be doing all we can to nurture business growth. Government can’t create business but it can create the conditions through which new and existing businesses can thrive.
2. More police officers on the beat
Our society is broken. It can be fixed, but it needs to start at home.
This problem will take some time to fix and it will not be an easy situation to reverse. We need less police officers behind desks and more police officers on the beat. I will work hard locally to ensure that the brave, compassionate and talented police officers within our force are doing what they signed up to do – uphold the law and serve the public.
3. Reduce the national debt and invest for jobs
The recession has been painful, and despite a very slight positive growth, our economy remains fragile.
There is a very real threat to sustained economic growth however and that is our record budget deficit. Unless some serious effort is shown to reduce this debt immediately, investment and confidence in our nation will decline as will the value of the pound, thrusting us into a longer, deeper recession. This will be painful over the short term, but beneficial over the long term.
4. Lift more children out of poverty
Poverty of any kind should be eradicated from our society given our status as one of the wealthiest developed nations on theplanet.
Child poverty is simply unacceptable. This is why we should be working harder to support poorer families and helping them in supporting their children to achieve their potential, have a healthy, active and fulfilled lifestyle and make a positive contribution to society.
5. Improve education standards Education has come under much scrutiny for many years and despite the claims that there have been greater achievements, it is debatable whether standards have actually increased. This is not poor teaching but an education system that stifles innovation and learning, burdens talented teachers with unnecessary administration and expects our schools to solve every societal problem. We need to attract the best and brightest into the profession by rewarding good teachers. We should link our schools with our employers more effectively and empower headteachers
6. Better roads and railways
There is a real need for improved transport facilities in our region.
We need to get motorists out of their cars by choice. Our motorways are grinding to a halt and trucks from overseas that use them day after day pay nothing towards their upkeep. Why are there plans to build a third runway at Heathrow when we have airports on our doorstep? What has happened to the promised rail link between our region and the channel tunnel? We need a strategy for our area.
7. Secure pensions and care for the elderly
Today people are living longer and, as a result, at some time in the next decade, the state pension age will change from 65 to 66.
The Conservatives plan to raise the basic state pension in line with earnings and, at the same time, encourage employers to offer high quality pension provision for all employees. We will also set up an independent review of public sector pensions to ensure they are fair and affordable .
8. Real apprenticeships not targets Perhaps it is not quite true that “education begins when you leave school”. Nevertheless, we plan to create 10,000 extra University places during our first year in office and for those who are less academically inclined we want to create 100,000 additional real apprenticeships and training places every year, and make it easier for companies to run apprenticeships. We will also introduce more community learning to improve skills and employability.
9.Front line spending on the NHS
For too many years bureaucracy has been slowly killing the NHS.
Targets have become more important than patient care. What is needed is decisive action and we saw examples of that when Gerry Robinson implemented changes at Rotherham hospital for his BBC programme. The question isn’t whether the NHS should change, it’s how the NHS should change.
10. Limit immigration with an annual cap
Conservatives believe that Britain benefits from talented people coming to our country, but not from
uncontrolled immigration. Unlike Labour we will control immigration properly.
Immigration to the UK has gone up threefold under Labour, placing extra pressure on public services such as housing, health and schools. A Conservative Government would:
– put an annual limit on non-EUimmigration for work;
– promote integration through an English language test for
– marriage visas;
– prevent abuse of the student visa system with tough reforms; tackle illegal immigration with a national border police force.
– We would also impose transitional controls to limit the numbers
– coming from any new countries joining the EU. These measures
– will ensure we have immigration properly under control.
Questions I would like to ask Lynda Donaldson
Tax Breaks For Businesses
This sounds great to me as I have a business, but I am aware that the government cannot afford to take in less in tax, and in fact needs to bring in more. If my business pays less tax, who will make up the shortfall? Can you give any guarantees on VAT? Do you accept that the Keynsian Multiplier effect is real, and that in order for it to work liquidity needs to move to those with the highest marginal propensity to consume (rather than save) which means getting cash from the richest to the poorest?
More police officers on the beat
What do you actually mean by ‘our society is broken’ and how can it be ‘fixed’?
Reduce the national debt and invest for jobs
How do you think you can both reduce the debt and invest? Where is the money going to come from?
We need to attract the best and brightest into the profession [teaching]
Speaking as a former teacher, you don’t need the ‘best and brightest’ and nor can you afford them. The best and brightest person I went to school with made a small fortune in banking and is living a comfortable semi-retired life at the age of 36. Teachers need to be bright enough to stretch their pupils, it is not necessary for them to be the leading lights of their generation. They need to be good teachers, who have the support they need. Nothing more, nothing less.
Better roads … We need to get motorists out of their cars by choice
These two statements seem to be entirely contradictory. Are the Conservatives committed to providing a high speed rail link to Yorkshire from the Channel Tunnel, or is that bit just an attack on Labour?
What are your long term solutions to the problem of transportation? I commute to Sheffield every day, and it takes me 20 to 30 minutes by car. I would have to allow two hours to do the same journey by public transport, and it would cost me more. How might my options be different under a Conservative government? Having de-regulated the buses are you now in favour of more state intervention?
we plan to create 10,000 extra University places during our first year in office and for those who are less academically inclined we want to create 100,000 additional real apprenticeships and training places every year
How are you going to create the training places, and what will you train people to do? And how will you pay for them? Do we not produce enough graduates already – graduate unemployment is already very high.
10. Limit immigration with an annual cap
How many people will you allow in per year? How will you arrive at this value?