Cambridge goes to the polls - who should you vote for?

PUBLISHED: 06:18 03 June 2017

A 'Polling Station' sign outside village hall during a UK election.

A 'Polling Station' sign outside village hall during a UK election.

Chris Hepburn

We asked candidates 12 contentious questions to help you make your choice on June 8.

The Cambridge Independent asked the candidates who want to represent the Cambridge constituency 12 questions to help you decide who to vote for in the General Election on June 8.

John Hayward, Conservatives

1. Should tuition fees be scrapped?

University access for 18-year-olds from disadvantaged areas has expanded by around 37% since 2010. It’s right that those who go on to earn higher salaries as a result contribute.

2. What would you do in a free vote on repealing the fox hunting ban?

I was a natural scientist and I love wildlife. I think it would be a waste of parliamentary time to reopen the debate.

3. Would you support the legalisation of cannabis?

Like every parent, I want to keep children safe. To legalise cannabis would send the wrong signal.

4. Would you support scrapping zero hours contracts?

Conservatives will ban exclusivity clauses and guarantee a minimum number of hours for such contracts.

5. Will you support renewal of the Trident nuclear weapons system?

Yes.

6. Should there be a cap on immigration numbers?

While a target for immigration rightly sets out a clear direction, an artificial cap could have unintended consequences.

7. Is current NHS funding sufficient?

Conservatives have invested an extra £10billion in the NHS. Conservatives are committed to increase NHS spending by a minimum of £8billion in real terms over the next five years.

8. How should we pay for rising social care costs?

Conservatives will introduce a single capital floor, set at £100,000, and consult on a new cap of care costs. No-one will have to sell their home in their lifetime to pay for care.

9. What kind of Brexit do you favour?

A smart Brexit – one that ensures a good and fair deal.

10. Do we have a fair funding deal for Cambridgeshire schools?

As a parent governor who represented the interests of young people at county level, I am very aware our schools have long been under-funded. Recent proposals seek to redress this.

11. How would you support our science/research sector?

I trained as a scientist, so I will be a champion. We will ensure we meet the OECD average for R&D investment – 2.4% of GDP – in 10 years, with a goal of 3%.

12. Should there be changes to income tax – and if so, how?

Conservatives have cut income tax for 31 million, taken four million out of paying income tax and introduced a National Living Wage.

Julian Huppert, Liberal Democrats

1. Should tuition fees be scrapped?

I’ve opposed tuition fees since Labour introduced them. I voted against the increase and proposed scrapping them. I would happily vote for a properly costed proposal to scrap them.

2. What would you do in a free vote on repealing the fox hunting ban?

Keep the ban – fox hunting is barbaric.

3. Would you support the legalisation of cannabis?

Yes. For 50 years, it’s been illegal. Millions use it anyway. Criminals control it. Regulating cannabis will make it safer, stop children from getting it, and free up police time.

4. Would you support scrapping zero hours contracts?

Some people want them – but we must stamp out abuse and allow people to have a proper contract if they want.

5. Will you support renewal of the Trident nuclear weapons system?

No. We should scrap Trident, and spend the money on conventional defence, cyber defence, housing and the NHS.

6. Should there be a cap on immigration numbers?

No. We benefit from migration – we’re better off financially, socially and culturally, and our food is better!

7. Is current NHS funding sufficient?

It is too low. 1p on income tax provides £6 billion per year for the NHS and social care – including £1 billion for mental health, neglected for too long.

8. How should we pay for rising social care costs?

We need a cap on costs, as recommended by Dilnot. The Tory proposal is cruel and would leave old people in fear.

9. What kind of Brexit do you favour?

No Brexit. It will be hugely harmful for the UK, especially Cambridge. We need the Single Market, Free Movement, and more!

10. Do we have a fair funding deal for Cambridgeshire schools?

No. As the MP, I secured £23.2m extra for our schools, but that still leaves us behind. We’d put an extra £7bn in over the Parliament to help schools and colleges, and teachers!

11. How would you support our science/research sector?

We need to ensure research funding grows above inflation, including replacing any lost EU funding. We need to ensure people can easily come to work and study in the UK.

12. Should there be changes to income tax – and if so, how?

We should continue to lift poorly paid people out of paying any income tax at all, and charge an extra 1p for our NHS and social care.

Stuart Tuckwood, Green Party

1. Should tuition fees be scrapped?

Yes. The current system will create a financial black hole and burdens students unfairly with a lifetime of debt. We can afford, like many European countries, to offer free education.

2. What would you do in a free vote on repealing the fox hunting ban?

Vote against, and push for the current ban to be properly enforced. I can’t tolerate animal cruelty and it says it all about the nature of the Conservatives that this is even on the cards.

3. Would you support the legalisation of cannabis?

Yes, a regulated trade would be safer and ensure those who need help with addiction can get it more easily.

4. Would you support scrapping zero hours contracts?

Yes. People deserve security and basic employment rights if they are working.

5. Will you support renewal of the Trident nuclear weapons system?

Labour’s commitment to Trident renewal will cost us anywhere above £105bn for a weapon we can’t use and that is not an effective deterrent. This is much better spent elsewhere.

6. Should there be a cap on immigration numbers?

No, not currently. Free movement has been of benefit to us. What we need is investment in communities and services to ensure those concerned about mass migration are protected.

7. Is current NHS funding sufficient?

Absolutely not, as everyone can see. But NHS privatisation, expanded hugely by the Conservatives and Lib Dems must also be reversed to ensure funding invested goes to patients.

8. How should we pay for rising social care costs?

Progressive, general taxation on corporations, property and the wealthiest to fund a universal system so that all get the care they need.

9. What kind of Brexit do you favour?

I want people to have a further say over the deal negotiated with the EU, with the option to remain if people dislike it.

10. Do we have a fair funding deal for Cambridgeshire schools?

No, not for Cambridgeshire or for schools generally. We need investment to end the school’s deficit, not divisive grammar schools.

11. How would you support our science/research sector?

By protecting the free movement of people and protecting or replacing any EU funding threatened by Brexit.

12. Should there be changes to income tax – and if so, how?

Currently the poorest 10% pay more of their incomes in tax than the richest 10%, when VAT, council tax and NI are included. Those earning the top rate should pay 60%.

Daniel Zeichner, Labour

1. Should tuition fees be scrapped?

Yes, and Labour will do just that.

2. What would you do in a free vote on repealing the fox hunting ban?

I’m a lifelong campaigner on animal welfare, I would vote to keep the ban Labour introduced.

3. Would you support the legalisation of cannabis?

No, although happy to consider other options and medical use, and I will look at all the evidence if there is a vote in the next Parliament.

4. Would you support scrapping zero hours contracts?

Yes, and Labour will do it, although there must be provision for those who freely choose and want to work flexible hours.

5. Will you support renewal of the Trident nuclear weapons system?

No, and I voted against renewal last year.

6. Should there be a cap on immigration numbers?

No, our economy relies heavily on foreign workers – migration in and out is good for our country.

7. Is current NHS funding sufficient?

No, which is why Labour is promising a £30billion increase over the next Parliament.

8. How should we pay for rising social care costs?

Labour proposed an insurance based system in 2010 – we want to build a national consensus around this, like the NHS.

9. What kind of Brexit do you favour?

No Brexit at all if possible. If not, we should stay in the Single Market and guarantee the rights of EU nationals immediately.

10. Do we have a fair funding deal for Cambridgeshire schools?

No, our schools are some of the worst funded in the country. I’ll continue to fight for proper funding and I’m delighted that the Labour Party has pledged to invest £20bn over five years.

11. How would you support our science/research sector?

Continue my work with the life sciences sector and on Big Data, and Labour will secure the rights of EU nationals, stay in Horizon 2020, Erasmus, the European Medicines Agency and Euratom.

12. Should there be changes to income tax – and if so, how?

For the vast majority, no change – the very top 5% will pay more.

Keith Garrett, Rebooting Democracy

Rebooting Democracy has no specific policies on any of these issues. We would use randomly selected citizen’s panels who have access to experts and information to make these choices for us.

Rather than having elected representatives we would have a body that is representative of us. This means that decisions would be made by the people rather than for us by a political elite. The current politicians have the wrong incentives to make long-term decisions on things like the NHS and climate change. They are only chosen on how well they market themselves to get elected, which at this time is closely related to money and they are bound by a party ideology.

They spend their time attempting to get elected again rather than working together for the common good.

While the idea of rule by random selection seems slightly odd, this is how democracy started, in Ancient Greece. It would be adjusted for modern times (ensuring your citizen’s panel is representative of the demographic of the nation) and would return us to rule for the people, by the people.

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