What We Care About – Questions for Candidates in the Wokingham Constituency
General Election – May 7, 2015
1. The NHS
The NHS is coming under increasing financial pressure. The NHS chief executive has said it will need £8bn of extra funding each year going forward in order to deal with increasing demand. Meanwhile, privatisation of services continues to be expanded. If you are Wokingham’s MP, how would you handle the NHS’s future?
We would increase NHS funding by £12 billion a year, increasing to £20 billion by 2020 http://nhsconfed.org/health-topics/general-election/green-party-policy
2. The TTIP
The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) is a comprehensive free trade and investment treaty currently being negotiated – in secret – between the European Union and the USA. One provision would potentially allow for private companies to sue the government if services that have been privatised are then “repossessed” by the NHS. How would you advise your party to approach the TTIP? We are totally against TTIP, our MP and MEPs have been opposing it as much as they can.
3. Wokingham’s Unitary Grant
Wokingham receives the lowest Unitary Grant from central government of any Unitary Authority in the country. As Wokingham’s MP, what would you do about this, if anything? I would try and get a better grant on behalf of the people of Wokingham, so we won't see so many cuts to services. Or selling off of assets.
4. A green Wokingham
What, if anything, is your vision for a green, sustainable, environmentally-friendly community in Wokingham? Friendly for cyclists and pedestrians, good cycle parking at strategic spots. All new buildings to have renewables eg solar if appropriate. Use land better for planting trees, grass verges etc. subsidise public transport if possible. Listen and talk to cycling & walking groups like Sustrans, Reading Cycle Club CTC, Ramblers Association etc.
5. Tax avoidance
What measures would you propose, if you were Wokingham’s MP, to do to reduce corporate and individual tax avoidance? HMRC to employ more people, they were cut under the coalition. Seek advice from the tax avoiding experts who have left the industry. End non Dom status.
Over the past 20 years, the gap between what the best- and poorest-remunerated people in this country earn has grown enormously, as has the amount of the country’s wealth that is now in the hands of the richest 1% of its residents. Does this concern you? If it does, and you were our MP, what would you try to get your party to do to counter this? It concerns me greatly, inequality makes life worse for all of us. The Green Party would have a wealth tax of 60% for highest earners. And a ten to 1 ratio between the highest and lowest paid in a company.
Many of the major banks continue to act in ways that are counter to the public interest (rigging rates, encouraging tax evasion, etc.) What would you do as our MP to improve the banking system, restore trust in it and ensure it works for the good of the general population? Look into regulations that have been relaxed since Thatchers day, some were brought in to stop a crash. Robin Hood tax on financial transactions. More smaller banks rather than a small number of giants that can dominate the industry.
Wokingham’s state schools have a very good reputation. Currently, more schools are being planned for Wokingham to meet the needs of our rapidly growing population. All of these are to be academies/free schools. What would you do as Wokingham’s MP to maintain or improve educational standards in the Borough as this major expansion is undertaken? Remove the central control of schools make it local again. Integrate academy/free schools within local education authority.
What will you do as Wokingham’s MP to ensure there is an adequate supply of housing affordable for nurses, early career teachers, carers and other low-paid but essential service workers in our community? Build half a million social rented homes by 2020.
Wokingham’s food bank has provided 659 food parcels to feed 1750 people from over 300 unique families in the past year, as well as helping the Salvation Army feed the homeless and Seaford Court feed struggling young people. Do you see this as a problem? If so, what would you do as our MP to solve it? It's a huge problem, mostly caused by delays in welfare. The last government has made benefits meaner and more difficult to claim and slower. As though to punish claimants. We would reverse that, speed things up. A living wage instead of the minimum wage would help reduce poverty.