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North Herefordshire

North Herefordshire is located in the west of England. The seat was created in 2010.

The current member of parliament is the Conservative Party’s Bill Wiggin who has served since 2010 (Leominster 2001–2010).

2010 General Election Results (Adjusted for non-voters)
North Herefordshire

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

Candidates

Daisy Blench

Background
I’m Daisy Blench the Green parliamentary candidate for North Herefordshire.

I am 27 years old, Herefordshire-born and attended the Minster College and Hereford Sixth Form College. I now work for a trade association in the pub and brewing sector helping companies adapt to new legislation, highlighting to government the economic importance of the sector and helping companies demonstrate their corporate responsibility on environmental issues, alcohol responsibility and other areas.

In my view voting Green is not a wasted vote as it has often been portrayed but a vote for a very different way of doing things. We are the only party offering a real alternative – challenging the consensus of austerity and cuts and seeking real action to tackle climate change.

The Greens have had a big surge in support this year and also the Young Greens are now the largest political youth organisation. However, our policies haven’t radically changed but I think people are desperate for a change and an alternative and now are now looking to us.

My view is that all policies should contribute towards building a fairer and more sustainable society. Instead of subsidising fracking and fossil fuels, we would invest in energy efficiency and renewables, creating green jobs. We would reduce the national insurance contribution and cut business rates for small businesses, the backbone of our local economy. They need support to grow and employ more people in good jobs, paying the living wage and helping our county thrive.

We would bring the railways back into public hands and secure better funding for local bus services. We would protect and rebuild our cherished NHS, damaged by underfunding and privatisation.

We have seen what an impact our excellent Green MP Caroline Lucas has been able to have and has won praise from across the political spectrum for her work – just think what we could achieve with a group of Green MPs in parliament calling on whoever ends up in government to pursue policies that put people and the planet first.

1. What do you plan to do in order to make sure you remain ‘in touch’ with the electorate?
I think that regular visits to all parts of the constituency is really important to make sure that you are talking to everyone and picking up on the nuances and different things that affect different areas and different people so I would aim to do a lot of this.

I think conversations with people in pubs, shops, cafes and many more of our excellent local businesses are a great way today in touch so I would make sure I spend time visiting plenty of these.

I would also make sure I keep links with all active campaign and interest groups in the area, even if I didn’t agree with everything they stand for as I think this is an important way to understand the range of opinions and views amongst your constituents and what matters to them.

2. What makes you the best candidate for this constituency?
I think that Herefordshire needs a Green voice in parliament to fight for better resources and opportunities for all whilst maintaining the distinctive and special character of the area.

I also think the area needs someone who is able to think independently for the good of the area and is not constrained by the party whip to vote along particular lines which may not be in the best interests of Herefordshire or the country as a whole.

3. What has the current Member achieved that you believe has been successful?
I think that he has been successful in championing some of our most important local industries such as the cider industry.
4. In your opinion, is austerity working? What should we take from the state of the economy during this Government’s tenure?
No I do not believe it is working. We’ve been told austerity is the only way when, as well as the damage the cuts are doing to the most vulnerable, leading economists are now saying that it has hampered our economic recovery too.

Our society is increasingly unequal and reliant on low wages, public services are run down, we aren’t taking climate change seriously enough and we have a housing crisis. Economic growth alone won’t bring equality, we need publicly funded investment to create jobs, a healthy economy and society.

5. Does (legal) immigration need more limitations or is it vital for the UK?
Immigration is vital for our economy in that many of our public services depend on migrants as do many industries such as farming which is very important in Herefordshire. Immigration is of net economic benefit to the UK economy as well as being immeasurably valuable in terms of the cultural enrichment that it brings as well.

Those that say that immigration is putting too much strain on our public services should look to the Government cuts which are the real cause of this pressure.

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?
The majority of people claiming benefits are in work but don’t earn enough to get by. Herefordshire is a very low wage area. We need to see the end of a situation where government is subsidising businesses to pay people too little.

The Green Party would raise the minimum wage to a living wage of £10 an hour by 2020 to ensure that everyone is able to earn enough but we would also provide additional support for small businesses to ensure that they are not damaged by this.

7. How would you like to see the NHS change in the future in order to become more successful?
The NHS has been damaged by year’s of underfunding and privatisation. Hereford Hospital built under the Private Finance Initiative of the previous government is under huge pressure.

Green MP Caroline Lucas recently presented the NHS reinstatement Bill on behalf of a cross-party group of MPs and this Bill aims to see a return to the NHS as a properly funded and truly public service providing health care free at the point of delivery.

 The Green Party would also commit an additional £12 billion of funding to ensure that the NHS is able to function properly and provide the quality service for all.

It is clear that not only has the NHS suffered from a lack of funding to provide core services but that profit has too often come before quality patient care with the use of private companies to provide NHS services.
 As Greens we say that the profit motive has no place in the NHS which should be run for the good of the public and we would end this practice.

8. What measures do you think need to be taken to decrease unemployment, particularly youth unemployment and those who have never been employed?
I think that as a country and in Herefordshire we need to see investment in the industries that we need to move us to a lower carbon economy as well as the public services that we all depend on – this will create many jobs, in renewable energy, in insulating homes and in green technologies.

We also need to provide more support for the excellent local businesses we have here at the moment such as our tourism businesses, pubs, shops and farming, to enable them to develop and employ more people in the long run.

9. Does the lack of diversity in Parliament equate to a lack of representation?
I think it probably does. I think that it is very important for Parliament to reflect the people that it represents as much as possible and greater diversity is an important part of representing different groups better and picking up on very important issues.
10 . If an EU Referendum were to take place, how would you encourage your constituents to vote and why?
I would encourage constituents to vote Yes to stay in the EU. Whilst I am critical of aspects of the EU and believe that it needs proper reform and much more transparency, there are many decisions which can only be made at a European level and many good things about being part of Europe and I think it is vital that we are a part of it.

Jeanie Falconer

Background
Jeanie Falconer lives in Bishops Frome, near Bromyard with
her family, and runs a farm and vineyard producing wine, cider and brandy.

She spent much of her career as
a senior consultant in European public affairs, living in London and Brussels, advising businesses on EU policymaking and legislative processes.

Jeanie married and spent several years in Paris where Ian was working. They returned with their young family to Herefordshire, where Ian had grown up and spent many summers working on hop farms in his youth. Jeanie, ready for a new challenge, took on the vineyard.

Through running a rural business in North Herefordshire, she knows very well the issues affecting people living and working here.

I am a Liberal Democrat because in the opening words of our constitution: “The Liberal Democrats exist to build and safeguard a fair, free and open society, in which we seek to balance the fundamental values of liberty, equality and community, and in which no one shall be enslaved by poverty, ignorance or conformity.” And furthermore, “We believe that the role of the state is to enable all citizens to attain these ideals, to contribute fully to their communities and to take part in the decisions which affect their lives.”

1. What do you plan to do in order to make sure you remain ‘in touch’ with the electorate?
This is on of the main reasons I am standing. An MP has the opportunity to be a catalyst, to bring people together and reinvigorate our communities. If I am elected I will be out and about so people know who I am and will hold regular surgeries all over North Herefordshire so people know how to reach me.
2. What makes you the best candidate for this constituency?
I live and work here. My husband is from here and this is where my children are putting down their roots. Through my daily life I am connected with business, agriculture and tourism. I know what our issues are. Through my experience in London and Brussels I know how to make government listen.
3. What has the current Member achieved that you believe has been successful?
I’m sorry if this sounds discourteous, and on the couple of occasions I have met the current MP he has been perfectly civil to me, but I have not met many people who have related a positive story concerning him.

I think that he and I have a very different perspective on what it means to be an MP. As I said above, I think an MP should be a catalyst to bring people together and should be campainging for her constituents. We must achieve a fairer system of funding for the rural areas. At the moment, the way it works at the moment means there is simply not enough to sustain our public services.

4. In your opinion, is austerity working? What should we take from the state of the economy during this Government’s tenure?
In 2010, we were on the verge of total economic crisis. That’s why the Liberal Democrats went into a coalition with the Conservatives. We recognised that the country needed a strong and stable government. It has been exceptionally difficult for many people. However, growth is up, more people are employed. Government borrowing is down. For the sake of our children, the deficit has to be eliminated.

Going forward, we no longer want an economy based on debt and speculation. We must build a new one, not just re-assemble the old. We cannot accept a society of unfairness and inequality, or damage our children’s future by debt or climate change. We cannot have a state where power is hoarded at the centre rather than being returned to citizens and our communities.

We have begun to make those changes. We have halved the deficit; raised the tax threshold to end the madness of people on benefits or minimum wage propping up the rest of us; have an actual industrial strategy where we invest in Britain’s areas of brilliance like driverless cars, or cell technology, and trebled our output of renewable energy. There is more to do. We need to balance the books, rewire the economy to cut out carbon, rebalance the tax system, build homes, return power to the citizens and communities.

5. Does (legal) immigration need more limitations or is it vital for the UK?
This is not an either / or. Immigration is vital for the UK; it is vital for Herefordshire – the soft fruit farmers would not be able to function without the seasonal labour; neither would the NHS! However, we have already re-imposed border controls so that at least we know who is in the country and who has left. Although “benefit tourism” is actually very small, there does need to be more control on how and who has access to benefits in Britain.
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?
The Liberal Democrats have ensured that the poorest amongst us have been helped by raising the point at which people begin to pay tax to £10 600. The plan is, if we are part of the next government, to raise this to £12 500 as the starting point. This means that people on benefits are not in the crazy position of receiving help with one hand and being taxed on it by the other. It also means that people on the minimum wage are not propping up the rest of us.
7. How would you like to see the NHS change in the future in order to become more successful?
We would like to see health and social care integrated so that people who do not need to be in hospital and should be at home have the right support to help them. We would also like to see physical and mental health given parity. We have a mental health crisis in this country and it is high time that it was tackled. We have a properly funded programme to meet the NHS’s call for the £8bn more that it says it needs over the next five years. The last thing the NHS needs is yet another re-orgainsation. However, I do think that there are examples in the NHS of imaginative and successful management that could replicated across the NHS to the benefit of staff and patients alike.
8. What measures do you think need to be taken to decrease unemployment, particularly youth unemployment and those who have never been employed?
Unemployment, as a whole, is at low level. However, I think that we can do better with the quality of jobs we have. That’s why I am so proud of what Vince Cable as Business Secretary has achieved with devising and implementing an actual industrial strategy which has involved focusing on 8 areas of British excellence (e.g. cell technology, digital brilliance, ultra low emission vehicles) while getting the new British Business bank to invest steadily in small and medium sized enterprises. He has also revolutionised apprenticeships so that more than 2 million youngsters (8000+ in Herefordshire) have taken up the opportunity and it has become an option of first choice. I am glad to see the other parties have recognised the benefits of apprenticeships are now falling in behind to support the whole concept. We need more and higher quality apprenticeships going forward.
9. Does the lack of diversity in Parliament equate to a lack of representation?
There should clearly be more diversity in Parliament; the wider the variety of backgrounds and experience the better for law making and policy development. However, in each constituency, I don’t think that it is impossible per se for a man to represent women constituents or vice versa. I think the question to ask is does your MP make the effort to represent her/his constituents in the first place.
10 . If an EU Referendum were to take place, how would you encourage your constituents to vote and why?
I would urge everyone in North Herefordshire to vote not only to stay in the EU but to start leading in the EU. We are a trading nation and are an important part of the largest trading bloc in the world. It was the UK who drove forward the completion of the internal market within the EU (under Margaret Thatcher!). It was the UK who drove the reform of the CAP. It was us (under Leon Brittan – the Competition Commissioner) who negotiated the immensely effective international trading agreements with the US. We are attempting to restore and protect our environment, but as part of the largest land mass in the world, we can’t do it alone. To imagine that a small country of 65 million people can get on alone in today’s world is a dangerous fantasy. This endless, debilitating debate about our EU membership has damaged our reputation, our position and our effectiveness across the world. For goodness sake, let’s get a grip and get on with making our mark and shaping the EU our way.

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