On Your Side

On 13 November 2014 I launched my campaign to become the MP for Taunton Deane. You can read my first campaign leaflet here and you can listen to a wide-ranging interview with me here

You can read my recently-adopted health policy here

Why am I standing? Because we need an MP free to speak up for our area without party interference. That’s why I’m standing as an Independent.

The long established model is broken, with the old stranglehold of the two party system fading before our eyes and If you thought voting Lib Dem was a good idea in 2010, what are you thinking now? It’s silly to claim that everything done by the three main Westminster parties has been wrong, but what is wrong with their policies, is that Party interests come first and the interests of local people – us – come a poor second.

I’ve lived in and around Taunton for over 20 years and feel a strong affinity with the Taunton area and have been dismayed at the relative decline in the town’s commercial fortunes. Taunton is the County town of Somerset and needs fresh leadership for a vibrant 21st century future that ensures prosperity, jobs and trade. That is why I became a founder member of Taunton Forward, a collection of businesspeople looking to put Taunton at the heart of our region for business, shopping, tourism, the arts and entertainment.

I intend to put Taunton Deane first, free from party orders. Did you know that along with Jeremy Browne, not one Somerset MP, Conservative or Liberal Democrat, voted to bring Government funding for Somerset up to the same as that given to urban areas? Again, party orders prevented them. That’s no good. We need a fresh approach, a Member of Parliament elected solely to put the interests of the people of Taunton Deane first rather than someone who will be whipped into voting along party lines.

Martin Bell and Dr Richard Taylor are both shining examples of what motivated, Independent MPs can achieve for their constituencies, for their counties and for this Country. They were free from the corrupting influence of lobbyists and the sleaze that has dogged party politics for too many years.

As an independent County Councillor I was surprised that the Conservative administration at County Hall wanted to close the library in my village, slash funding for our Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, sell off the West Somerset Railway and close a local Children’s Centre. Being independent meant that I was able to campaign, successfully, against all of these. I also pressed successfully for the early installation of superfast broadband for my County Council constituency.

Taunton Deane needs a Champion.

Keep checking back here for details of what I’m up to or follow the links above to my Facebook page and Twitter feed.

HOUSING

March 2nd, 2015

HousebuildingHousing has become a huge issue in recent years and today we see the big political parties wheeling out their policies to address the problem. I’ll be setting out my views and policies here today. But first, a few facts and figures: –

  • Homeownership has reduced from 71% to 63% over the last decade;
  • The average age of the first time buyer is now 36 years old;
  • 1.4m private landlords now own 5 million homes in the UK, almost a fifth of the total;
  • In London, tenants are spending 50% of their income on rent, outside London 40%.

Although interest rates are at record lows, the new affordability criteria, record prices and hefty deposit requirements have combined to prevent many from buying their own home. We will hear much today from the parties about how we need to spend lots more taxpayers’ money on building more housing (Greens), how we need to cut developer contributions to local infrastructure (Conservatives) and stopping landbanking (Labour). But none of these plans deals with one of the major drivers of increased prices and that’s the buy-to-let market. Already, almost one-fifth of all UK homes are owned by private investors renting them out. Clearly, there’s nothing intrinsically wrong with having a private-rented sector, indeed it’s an essential component of our housing market. But is has become far too dominant. Recently, I was astonished to discover that a new housing development in my County Division saw 35% of its homes going to buy-to-let landlords. No wonder homes are being priced out of reach of many in their 20s and 30s, with such rampant additional demand. Continue reading “HOUSING” »