My three promises for Halifax:
1. To listen to the needs of the people in the Halifax constituency by holding a minimum of four annual meetings open to all
2. To make the voice of the constituents of Halifax heard in Parliament
3. To work hard for all the people of the Halifax constituency at all times and remembering to be proud that I represent the people of Halifax
Many people in Halifax, as well as the UK as whole are struggling with spiraling debts, rising food and energy bills and mortgages they can no longer afford. With plummeting house prices, falling growth, rising inflation and rising unemployment, the outlook for many individuals looks bleak.
Government spending needs control and the economy needs a boost. By cutting taxes for people from the bottom up and regulating the banking system to prevent irresponsible lending and business practices we would be able to strengthen the economy and provide more security and stability for the people of Halifax and beyond.
Halifax buses and trains need to be affordable and reliable so people can have a real choice about how to travel. Better public transport means we can cut pollution and making it easy for people to leave their car at home.
Transport policy should have a simple goal: putting the passenger first. We should look at plans for a rail renaissance, the reopening of closed railway lines and stations, and using the railway as a true alternative to lorries. We should create a High Speed Network to cut journey times for the people of Halifax and other communities to the metropolitan areas.
Finally I want the local people of Halifax to have a say on bus fares and routes in their area.
It is paramount that every child gets an excellent education because this is the best way to get on in life, get a good job, and learn about the world. Class sizes should be reduced giving teachers more time to spend in the classroom.
University education should be free and everyone who has the ability should be able to go to university and not be put off by the cost. The plans to build a university in Halifax should be top priority providing outstanding facilities for learning and providing accommodation for these students, thus boosting the economy of the town.
Secondary education in Halifax has been a concern over the last 10 years, an academy is due to be built changing the face of education in the area; delivery of this project needs to be on time and on budget, having no negative impact on the education system as it stands at present.
Health care in the UK should remain free and available to everyone based on need; there should be no waiting lists and no postcode lottery. Money invested in health care should not be wasted on bureaucracy and should be invested in frontline services. Doctors and nurses are forced to spend too much time trying to meet government targets rather than caring for patients. Decisions about local services should be made by the people it affects, locally.
Calderdale Royal Hospital delivers an excellent service and no cuts in front line service should occur due to the lack of public money.
Pensions and Older People
Older people make a valuable and often unrewarded contribution to society. Many older people are the most active volunteers in the third sector, and without these volunteers many services received by local communities would cease to exist. Public sector pensions should be fair and affordable, older people who volunteer should be financially rewarded. The basic state pension should be in line with earnings. Retirement should not mean a drop in your standard of living or your quality of life. The Direct Payments and Individual Budget schemes help older people to have greater control over their lives and care these should continue.
Law and Order
We all want to feel safe on the streets of Halifax as well as in our own homes. Crime in this country is too high and many of us do not feel safe. Local police stations should be accessible, with more police on the streets and a more efficient response and follow up when a crime is reported. While Community Justice Panels and use of community punishments as an alternative to short term prison sentences would help the over-crowding in prisons.
We urgently need to move to a low carbon economy in order to strengthen our economy, guarantee our energy security and protect the environment for future generations. The UK has both the natural resources to generate wind and wave power, as well as a skilled workforce capable of creating solutions to our energy issues. We need to increase the manufacture of renewable energy products such as solar panels and wind turbines. Going green, using renewable energy and creating green jobs will make our country a safer, cleaner place to live.
Europe should be more democratic, transparent and accountable to be successful. Members of the EU should always promote peace, stability, democracy and human rights right across Europe, standing together gives us strength.
Our troops are overstretched and should have the necessary equipment to enable them to do their jobs professionally and to the highest standard; there should be no compromise when it comes to their safety. I believe the war in Iraq was unlawful and should not have happened I also believe that the war in Afghanistan cannot be won by fighting. World peace and conflict resolution can only take place when governments listen to each other, understand the issues and help in positive ways.
Britain should take the lead in working and negotiating towards a global nuclear disarmament by setting an example with a cut in nuclear warheads.
Immigration could be a benefit to our area and to the UK if it is properly controlled, with its impact on the economy, public services and social cohesion taken into account.
We need to have a system that is firm but fair, which takes into account the genuine concerns of the local population and plans for the effects of managed legal migration. However, we also need to accept that immigration is a fact of life and strongly promote integration.