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Banbury

Banbury is located in the centre of England in Oxfordshire. It was created in 1553 and has been held by the Conservative party since 1922.

The current member of parliament is the Conservative party’s Tony Baldry, who has served since 1983.

2010 General Election Results (Adjusted for non-voters)
Banbury

For more information, click here to visit the Wikipedia article.

Candidates

Ian Middleton

Background
Ian is a local businessman, entrepreneur and writer. Born in East London, he grew up in Kent and has lived in Oxfordshire for 22 years. He is co-founder of a chain of designer jewellery stores and more recently has been sharing his retail expertise through regular columns in national trade magazines. He also writes for Huffington Post and the national press on human and animal rights, politics and ethical business.

As a retailer, Ian is inspired by the spirit of community in Banbury and keen that areas like the Old Town continue to enhance it’s reputation as a vibrant independent businesses sector supporting small retailers, restaurants, venues and workshops.

Ian is committed to protecting the NHS and sees Banbury’s Horton Hospital as a vital resource that needs to be cherished. He would seek to ensure that main facilities remain sited there and are not hived off to other hospitals further away.

Ian believes we should be promoting Bicester as something more than an outlet village. He sees issues such as travel infrastructure and housing as particularly important, especially given the government’s ‘Garden City’ aspirations. Developments like the eco-village need to remain focussed on core principles to stand as a model for future projects.

We should make sure houses are built in response to local need and not simply to make developers a quick profit. This means a real terms growth in local employment with decent pay, and warm, comfortable homes that local people can afford to live in.

1. What do you plan to do in order to make sure you remain ‘in touch’ with the electorate?
I have published all online and traditional contact touchpoints. Social media is playing a large part in my campaign and I am a frequent blogger, Facebooker and Tweeter. I aim to respond personally to all such contacts. We will of course also be canvassing and having contact events throughout the run up to the election.
2. What makes you the best candidate for this constituency?
25+ years experience as a real world business person and self made entrepreneur brings a wealth of skills to constituency. My background in retail has particular relevance in terms of the profiles of both Banbury and Bicester. I also share the Green Party’s aspirations to bring a fairer and more equal society to Banbury.
3. What has the current Member achieved that you believe has been successful?
I understand he has been supportive of the Horton Hospital, which is something I would continue if I were to be elected. Although in the face of the Conservatives apparent aim to continue with the privatisation of the NHS by stealth, it seems that this may not be something his Conservative successor will be able to maintain for very much longer. Indeed I believe Tony Baldry has of late been arguing that many of the services being provided by the Horton could be transferred to other hospitals in Oxford.
4. In your opinion, is austerity working? What should we take from the state of the economy during this Government’s tenure?
Austerity is definitely NOT working. The national debt is now higher than it was when the coalition took power although the deficit has been reduced by some degree. However current policies and the further cuts that are being flagged up for another spell of Conservative administration risk stalling the economy further as tax revenues continue to fall in the face of an economy that remains depressed in real terms. That could mean the debt will continue to rise which simply defers taxation leaving us locked in a downward spiral for years to come.
5. Does (legal) immigration need more limitations or is it vital for the UK?
EU migration cannot be limited in the strictest sense. Non-EU immigration may need to be more closely monitored and controlled in the short term, although migrants from inside and outside the EU contribute greatly to our economy and so should not be discouraged unreasonably from coming to the UK to work and live. As an internationalist I look forward to the day when borders will be less a part of the way we divide up global resources. Although I admit that is a long terms aspiration that will probably be several generations away.
6. Many people are concerned about the cost of living in the UK, with wages having failed to rise in line with the price of food, energy and rent in recent years. How can this be corrected?
We need to encourage sustainable economic models, including businesses and jobs within the green economy. Along with long term prosperity for small and medium businesses I’d press for increases in the national minimum wage and the introduction of the living wage. Some specific costs of living would also be reduced by green technologies such as improved insulation and renewable energy sources.
7. How would you like to see the NHS change in the future in order to become more successful?
We should repeal the Health and Social Care Act brought in by the current administration and look towards taking the NHS fully back into public hands. The NHS should be able to much more efficiently run many of it’s own services in-house and the associated reduction in administration costs would also help balance the books. Ultimately though, with many people living longer, and an increasingly aged population, along with associated improvements in new and more expensive treatments and drugs, we will eventually have to come to terms with that reality of higher contributions in the form of taxation in order to maintain the NHS as the kind of service we all want to see when we need it.
8. What measures do you think need to be taken to decrease unemployment, particularly youth unemployment and those who have never been employed?
We need to encourage a society that everyone feels they have a stake in. I believe education is the key to much of that and children need to be taught from an early age the values of co-operation and social responsibility. We also need to invest more in training and skills to prepare children for a difficult jobs market within an ever changing world. There are also an estimated one million jobs that could be made available in the Green economy if this were to be fully backed by government and industry.
9. Does the lack of diversity in Parliament equate to a lack of representation?
Yes. I believe that it probably does. Certainly when you look at the predominantly white, male, privately educated career politicians that are now in power.
10 . If an EU Referendum were to take place, how would you encourage your constituents to vote and why?
I would encourage them to vote to stay in the EU. We are far too far down the road now to risk the potentially catastrophic ramifications of separating from the EU. We also benefit greatly from the EU in terms of trade and global opportunity. Contrary to the rhetoric of some parties, we take out far more from the EU than we put in. I would however want to see reforms in the way the EU operates, particularly in terms of representation and democratic responsibility.

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