Next Thursday (May 7) we go to the polls in both the General Election and Melton Borough Council elections.
There are six candidates contesting the Rutland and Melton parliamentary constituency. Voters have a choice of UKIP’s Richard Billington, Conservative the Rt Hon Sir Alan Duncan, Independent Marilyn Gordon, Green Party’s Alastair McQuillan, Labour’s Dr James Moore and Liberal Democrat Ed Reynolds.
Each of them has outlined his or her election promises to help you make up your mind.
RICHARD BILLINGTON (UKIP) I passionately believe that as a UKIP Member of Parliament I can meet the highest expectations of integrity, purpose and truth which the electorate should rightly expect from their MP.
I’m local, born in the village of Whissendine, at the heart of our constituency, I grew up in Melton and was educated at King Edward VII Upper School.
Professionally I spent 14 years as a teacher working in Melton and around Leicestershire before becoming a self-employed, independent financial advisor.
UKIP Believes in Britain. UKIP will offer: an in/out referendum on EU membership; open free trade links with the world; recover the UK’s fishing industry; keep the NHS free at point of delivery and need; cut wasteful foreign aid to countries which no longer need it; reduce class sizes in schools; ensure that military personnel are given proper help after their service and offer a points-based immigration system which is fair to all.
Locally, working with our councils, my focus is on protecting this special pocket of rural England from over-development, whether it be opposing building on greenfield land or stopping the siting of massive wind farms within our borders.
Unlike the Conservatives, who have only promised a post-election withdrawal of wind farm subsidies, UKIP have always stood firmly against this wasteful, ugly and ultimately pointless technology industrialising our rural landscape.
On May 7 Believe in Britain and VOTE UKIP!
SIR ALAN DUNCAN (CON) I am proud to have served as your Member of Parliament for over 20 years. Over that time I’ve proved that I will always stand up for Melton’s interests.
Five years ago the country was on the brink of financial meltdown. Now, the recovery is well underway, but we cannot risk all that we’ve achieved.
Nationally, two million new jobs have been created and income tax has been cut for over 26 million people.
Since the last election, unemployment in Rutland and Melton has fallen by almost 60 per cent, our schools have improved under the academies programme and our communities made safer as crime keeps falling.
There are still many challenges. We will respond to an ageing population by improving and capping the cost of elderly care and strengthening the health service by continuing to protect the NHS budget.
Locally, I will continue to push for the long-term projects the area needs to thrive, in particular the much needed ring road around Melton, and to make sure we retain proper, effective coverage from our emergency services.
I will also keep fighting the threats to the traditional, rural character of our environment, such as inappropriate wind turbines and housing developments that our infrastructure can’t support.
I have been a champion of Melton’s interests ever since I was first elected. I have a deep understanding of this place and the people who live here, and I will continue to fight for the things that matter to them if re-elected to Parliament.
MARILYN GORDON (IND) I was a local ward councillor for Melton Borough Council between 1999 and 2003, again from 2011 to the present time, and was the Mayor between May 2013 and May 2014. In addition I’m also a Born-again Christian.
My aims are: Keep the United Kingdom united – it says in Matthew 12:25 “Every Kingdom divided against itself will be ruined”; Support the EU referendum; Support the NHS – retain in public sector and more ‘out of hours’ surgeries; Education - promote British values in schools; Crime - more policing on the streets; Environment - promote more public awareness of environmental issues; Economy - do more to create jobs and support businesses; Defence - keep Trident; Abolish zero-hour contracts; Support pro-life; Fight for Melton bypass
I am enthusiastic and passionate about what I believe in and will work hard to fulfil my aims and to enthusiastically represent the people of Rutland and Melton constituency.
For any issues or concerns please contact me on (01664) 854629 or 07528 416156 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
ALASTAIR MCQUILLAN (GREEN) was born and bred in Melton, is a graduate in geography and environmental management and works at The Kettleby Cross pub in Wilton Road.
Alastair (29) said: “Melton is a fantastic place to live but it has problems. Its public transport is inadequate, with communities isolated, and roads are at a standstill daily.
“Vital public services that support and protect the most vulnerable are being cut. Rent is the highest in the region, forcing young people and families to pay over the odds. Rising house prices and stagnant wages are leaving many people struggling to make their income cover the cost of rent and other bills.
“I believe in protecting our environment, in social justice, and a thriving economy based on independent business and local jobs. Public services should be run for people, not for profit of private corporations.
“We need a free, publicly-funded NHS and an end to creeping privatisation. We need a proper public transport service that takes railways and bus services back into public ownership.
“We have to scrap tuition fees so everyone has access to a world-class education system without getting into crippling debt. People need a living wage, affordable homes and a real opportunity.
“The 2015 General Election promises to be one of the most competitive and unpredictable in living memory. Every vote will count.
“The voice of change is getting louder and louder. We offer you a Britain of hope, not fear. Next Thursday you’ll have the opportunity to deliver real change for Britain.”
DR JAMES MOORE (LABOUR) is a well-known political scientist and historian who has held posts in Britain and the Middle East. He has degrees from Oxford and Manchester and is currently a lecturer in modern history at the University of Leicester.
James served for several years as a councillor and lives in the constituency in the village of Glaston, near Uppingham.
James was active in the campaign to stop fire service cuts and worked with local fire officers to fight against plans to take away one of Oakham’s fire engines. He is a strong supporter of the local police and opposed the Conservatives’ decision to cut over 110 police officers from the local force. He is also determined to improve our local NHS and improve access to local out-of-hours care.
We need an economy that rewards all hard working people - not just the super rich. James has been a strong advocate of the living wage and believes it is a disgrace that working people are forced to resort to food banks, while millionaires are given coalition tax cuts.
Many in Rutland and Melton constituency are still struggling on low wages. James will work with local businesses and those of all parties to help bring more and better jobs to the area.
He is also a strong supporter of campaigns to improve essential local infrastructure, including better rural broadband and a bypass for Melton.
Investment in infrastructure is essential to get our local economy moving again and to attract new shops and businesses.
ED REYNOLDS (LIB DEM) is truly a local candidate. His family were tenant farmers in Cold Overton for 60 years.
Ed is 38-years-old and lives in Oakham with his wife and nine-month-old son.
He said: “I want the same things for everyone who lives here, as I want for my family; the best local NHS services, the best schools, affordable housing and excellent care for the elderly.”
Ed is new to politics. He works for a renewable energy company in Oakham.
He said: “Growing up and working here means that I understand the importance of rural issues such as local transport and mobile and broadband connectivity.
“If elected I’ll make sure the proposed cuts to the local ambulance, police and fire services do not affect response times.
“Since 2010 Lib Dems policies have directly benefited people in Rutland and Melton, including a £800 tax cut for 39,500 constituents and the pupil premium which has delivered £5.3m to local schools.
“I’m proud the Lib Dems have committed to an £8bn increase in NHS funding and that we will introduce waiting time targets for mental health. We’ve also committed to an extra £2.5bn for education and we’re the only party to guarantee public sector pay increases.
“The Lib Dems will deliver a stronger economy and a fairer society.
“I will always put my constituents first and I will fight to help the young and the vulnerable.
“After 149 years of Tories and 23 years of Alan Duncan, it’s time for a change!”