We asked our readers to submit questions to be answered by all six candidates for the South Holland and the Deepings seat. Rick’s answers are below...
1 - Mrs Sue Croucher
I have been a carer most of my life and know from personal experience just how hard this role can be. I would like to ask the candidates how they will address the problem of the 700k+ children under the age of 16 who are currently carers for family members, distorting their childhood, and placing a huge burden on such young shoulders. I understand they receive no financial compensation, and very little support from government agencies. They are therefore working for free, an easy opt out for Parliament.
RS: I find it heartbreaking that so many children are missing out on the every day experience of being a child. Instead, they are unpaid servants and more at the behest of which ever relative needs care. No child should be a carer full stop. In fact the practise should be illegal. Sue, following the work of the economist Mancur Olsen in 1965, we’ve known that public opinion is moulded not by public good but by special interest groups. If any cause needed a special interest group surely it is this one. Making Tax Evasion and Tax Avoidance illegal would give us the money to make a difference.
2 - Roly Hare
What are you able to bring to the table in support of a greater and improved railway link to the people of South Holland, bearing in mind that the franchise is due for renewal in near future and that a huge amount of money has already been spent in modernisation of the network to allow 24 hour access for freight?
RS: As a regular commuter on that route I am well aware of the frustrations involved in daily travel. The franchise should not be renewed unless we have two carriages on each journey and at least a token Sunday service of two trains to Lincoln and Peterborough respectively.
3- Nita Attwood and Christine Ayliffe
Theresa May stated that she is willing to repeal the Fox Hunting ban. How do the other parties feel about this? This law is surely for the few (elite landowners only) and not the many. My friends and I are beginning to doubt our allegiances to the Tory Party if this becomes law.
RS: Fox hunting should be confined to the annuls of history like bear baiting.
4 - Paul Poll
Why should low earners pay tax so a government can give subsidies to farmers so they can pay exorbitant rents to rich landlords?
RS: We pay tax and the European Union pay farmers subsidies via the Common Agricultural Policy.
Post Brexit the government has guaranteed these payments till 2020.
After that we will be in a very different world where there could be pressure on the exorbitant rents to come down.
5 - Alan Meekings
If elected, will you campaign for a referendum on the terms of Brexit actually offered by the other 27 members of the EU? If not, why not?
RS: Yes I will Alan! We’ve picked up a revolver with 27 bullets in and one empty chamber, put the gun to our head, spun the chamber pulled the trigger and hope to find the empty chamber. It ain’t going to happen. If our international banking industry seeks to move abroad we are in deep trouble.
6- Yvonne Allcott
Is there no mention of the deliberate destruction of UK Armed Forces for EU Military Unification because the British people would overwhelmingly disagree with this merger.
RS: Yvonne the Salvation Army is now more than twice the size of the British Army. The recruiting process over the last 12 months has been a disaster for all three elements of the services. The government, along with the other Nato allies is fudging it’s 2% commitment on defence by including MOD pension payments. Meanwhile, Argentina is re-arming but I have heard no one in Britain pushing the European Army agenda.
7 - Andrew MacDonald
Given the increasing number of candidates that don’t live within the constituency, isn’t legislation prohibiting such applicants overdue as they can hardly best represent local opinion?
RS: With all due respect to your opinion I think the government has more important issues than this to address.
8 - Rodney Sadd
With so many zero hours contracts in the UK, my concern is with the unscrupulous agencies that exploit job market.
RS: Rodney as you know, we have a history of worker exploitation by agencies in our own area via the Gang Master system and the government must allocate resources to eradicate all abuse of the agency system. We are in 2017 not 1917 but you would not know it the way some employers treat their staff.
9 - Michael Ingamells
What will the candidates do for dementia care, how do they see the future of social care... for instance what will they do to enable people to stay in their own homes for longer? What will they do for people who give up work to care for their loved ones in the way of increasing carer’s allowance?
RS: Michael, Germany spends 9% of their GDP on health. We spend 6%. However we decide to play it, we are going to need more money. Once again, my suggestion to make tax avoidance and tax evasion illegal would give us the cash to design a program flexible enough to help all dementia sufferers.
10 - John Hayter
£13 billion on foreign aid and for our own people, potholes and foodbanks. Discuss, bearing in mind we are paying £60 billion a year on national debt interest payments, more than we spend on the education of the nation’s children.
RS: John, the foreign aid budget is 0.7 of 1% of our GDP. Is there abuse? Undoubtedly! Are we being ripped off and in some cases downright robbed? Absolutely! My concern though is the other 99.3 % that is being so mismanaged that we have to question the 0.7%. Until we pay off our national debt interest payments are a fact of life I am afraid.