Blackpool South has been held by Labour’s Gordon Marsden since 1997 but his majority was cut substantially at the last General Election in 2010.
He won the constituency with a margin of 1,852 votes – compared to 7,922 votes in 2005.
Seven candidates are battling for the seat this time round.
A key issue is the need to boost business opportunities, with areas round Waterloo Road and Bond Street suffering particularly badly during the economic downturn.
Many hoteliers in South Shore have also struggled, especially those on the fringes of the resort. However, a £50m investment in around 400 new homes at Foxhall Village is hoped to bring much-needed regeneration. Turnout in 2010 was 35,192. Swing -6.2
Bill Greene (Liberal Democrat)
As someone who lives in Blackpool South I am proud to have the chance to represent you in Parliament.
I have been a local councillor as well as being involved as an active Liberal Democrat at local, regional and national level, including being a Parliamentary candidate.
The underlying principle that guides my political views is that of ‘Freedom for the Individual’.
That principle requires that no one should be disadvantaged because of things that they cannot change; for example their age, the colour of their skin or their sex.
But it also means that everyone must take responsibility for their actions or their failure to act.
Following the last General Election I supported the creation of the coalition.
The primary reason being the need for there to be a strong stable government that provided the opportunity for the implementation of Liberal Democrat policies in the area of taxation, education, business and energy.
My priority is to improve the qualifications that our young people have when they leave our schools. They need jobs! The results from our schools are just not good enough.
Jobs will be created if those willing to create jobs see our young people being better educated than they are now.
Duncan Royle (Green)
I am an environmental consultant and I live on the Fylde coast.
I have always been suspicious about political parties, but I joined the Green Party because it cares about people and social issues as well as about the planet.
My priorities for Blackpool are to invest in improving the housing stock and build affordable homes.
Converting guest houses within appropriate planning zones into affordable and desirable residential properties will boost the town.
Prioritising home insulation improvements will reduce fuel bills, create local jobs and help tackle climate change.
To support small businesses. Give priority to local business and invest in making the town a greener and more pleasant place to do business,visit, work, and live.
To create well paid local jobs by investing in home building, housing improvements, expanding renewable technologies and transport improvements.
Saving the NHS and cuts to public services. Fund them properly and stop the distraction of privatisation. Improving local transport. Working to ban fracking. It will create fewer jobs than investment in renewable technologies. It will be a disaster for the local tourist industry.
Gordon Marsden (Labour)
My campaign and priorities mirror The Gazette’s survey (April 10 edition): NHS, regeneration, jobs, skills, education at all ages, opportunities for younger people, security for older ones.
There’s huge concern in how the Government has failed us on the NHS and social care.
Longer waits for operations and cancer tests, poor GP access, A&E crisis.
I’m stressing Labour’s fully-costed £2.5bn integration of NHS with social care – a big issue for older people – and thousands more North West GPs and nurses.
People appreciate the new investment in the tramway, seafront, Stanley Park, health centres, the new-look Tower and Winter Gardens (largely via pre-2010 funding I was involved with).
But they urgently want investment in Blackpool’s people. That’s where this Government has let them down.
Tackling Blackpool’s 12 per cent real wage drop, exploitative zero-hours contracts and poorly paid part-time jobs is central to my priorities.
Local businesses are key, including guesthouses and visitor services. I’ve taken practical initiatives like backing South Shore’s New Market.
People want fairness – on disabled people or on the Coalition’s cuts, which have spared the prosperous but massively reduced funding for Blackpool’s local services and police.
Peter Anthony (Conservatives)
I am a local man who understands Blackpool through and through. We have all had enough of the decline and deprivation brought on by Labour control and representation .
Under my watch I will fight to ensure Blackpool does not continue to be a destination for other towns’ and cities’ social problems.
Social breakdown and all the problems it causes have been ignored for far too long. It has tarnished Blackpool’s image, and I vow to tackle this head on.
But you have my word – I will always fight hard on behalf of those who are in the most genuine need.
As chairman of the Queendeans charity, I have worked for many years helping some great causes across our town.
If you vote for me, I promise you will have an MP who will seek aspiration and investment to put Blackpool firmly back on the map.
Businesses are the backbone of our town’s economy and I will do all I can to ensure the zero rates and reduction schemes are a continued priority.
Andy Higgins (Independent)
Our campaign came together to highlight the injustices at Blackpool Football Club, by focusing attention on what the owners are doing to our club and its community.
We are, however, far more than a single issue group and want all our political and business leaders to feel accountable for regenerating the town and re-building a sustainable economy.
With inward investment and creative thinking, the town can reinvent itself as a multi-activity location to compete with resorts such as Brighton and Bournemouth.
One first practical move to show some commitment from the big three Westminster parties will be the return of their annual conferences.
We need people who care to look after our interests so the UK Parliament has to be far more responsive to and take notice of the needs of our local community.
We need to be able to regain a sense of civic pride and have hope for the future of our town and its people.
Lawrence Chard (Independent)
I have spent 50 years operating as a professional coin dealer and recently moved my business to new premises on Harrowside.
The catalyst for my campaign is fair tax treatment following a year-long campaign over a VAT charge that should never have been demanded from us in the first place.
But I have many other ideas, beliefs and philosophies which I believe to be improvements, or which should be considered when making policy decisions and new laws or amendments to existing ones.
I think we should be tougher on crime and punishment and I think we ought to come out of the EU without a referendum. Another issue is I think education standards have dropped and there is a lack of respect. I don’t expect to get elected but a good reason to vote for me is the disaffection for the other parties.
Peter Wood (UKIP)
A family man, I grew up in Blackpool and I work with organisations through change and performance improvement.
I got involved in politics when I looked at the standards of our ‘ruling elite’, with no life experience outside politics.
My key areas of local focus are to work with the various bodies, government agencies, businesses and people to bring the local enterprise zone into successful fruition.
Warton enterprise zone, which the Blackpool Airport enterprise zone is linked to, is already in crisis and branded ‘the worst in the country’ by ministers. It is the only one of 24 that had attracted no new businesses or produced any new jobs. It is potentially worth £1bn and 6,000 new jobs and it is being thwarted by politics.
Typically, councils have seen their main grant support reduced by the central government as part of their austerity measures.
The idea is this reduction is off-set by money they get back in for the ‘new homes bonus’.
Sadly, Blackpool has little land to develop for housing, so is penalised while prosperous areas, predominantly in the south, benefit and get richer and wealthier.
I also want to fight the council’s plan to build a hotel that competes with many of the town’s businesses.