Candidates' pledges to port electorate
The parliamentary candidates for Lancaster and Fleetwood have pledged to boost the town's industries, transport infrastructure, social housing and education funding.
Fleetwood residents will have a chance to see all the candidates when they take part in a hustings event at the town’s St Nicholas’ Church on Monday, (June 5) at 7.30pm.
Cat Smith, the Labour candidate, says a government run by her party will invest £20m over five years in re-opening the railway line from Fleetwood into Poulton-le-Fylde.
Fleetwood has been without a rail link for more than 40 years but Ms Smith says it is vital the transport connection is restored and vows that Labour will make this key investment, as part of a much wider pledge to radically improve UK transport infrastructure.
Under the plans, the existing line would be updated and electrified, just like the Preston to Blackpool North line.
Ms Smith, who welcomed Andy McDonald, the Shadow Secretary of State for Transport, to the town for a fact-finding trip, said; “For too long Fleetwood has struggled with inadequate transport links. With just one road in and one road out, it’s difficult to attract jobs and investment to our town.
“Re-opening the rail link into Preston would be a game changer for us.
“It would have a positive impact on the local area by improving transport links, attracting much needed investment, and opening up access to jobs and education opportunities.”
Mr McDonald said Labour’s new National Transformation Fund would borrow £250 billion over 10 years to pay for infrastructure improvements, which would include a Crossrail for the North linking major northern cities.
He said; “Fleetwood is cut off and isolated and desperately needs to be connected.”
Eric Ollerenshaw, the Conservative candidate, has spoken to the Fishing Minister, George Eustice, to campaign for support for the fishing industry in Fleetwood.
And he believes the post-Brexit environment will provide a strong opportunity to revive the industry’s fortunes in Fleetwood.
Mr Ollerenshaw said: “Although we still have a thriving fish processing industry here in Fleetwood, unfortunately the fishing industry itself has seriously declined.
“For me, Brexit is the ideal opportunity to revive it and that is why I have already spoken to the Minister to ensure that Fleetwood gets a good deal.
“Theresa May has already committed to leaving the London Convention, which will mean that EU Countries no longer have rights over our waters and if I am elected I will work to ensure that Fleetwood benefits from this and gets the best deal!”
Mr Ollerenshaw yesterday welcomed International Trade Minister, Dr Liam Fox to Fleetwood to meet with local fish processing businesses and to ask what Brexit holds for the Fleetwood fishing industry.
Rebecca Novell, of the Green Party, is chief executive of Marsh Community Centre which works in one of Lancaster’s most deprived estates providing support with housing, benefits, and employment as well as providing a food bank
She says her party has pledged to build thousands of affordable homes.
She said: “We can’t keep voting for the same thing and expect different results.
“Whilst I despise what the Tory Government has done to our NHS, our schools and our most vulnerable communities, Labour is not the answer to our problems.
“I am standing for the Green Party because I want change and that means voting for something different.
“The Green Party has real solutions to the issues impacting on my constituency.
“They will remove the failing Universal Credit system which is ruining the lives of so many and build 500,000 socially rented homes to provide new, affordable housing to thousands of families.”
Robin Long, the Liberal Democrat candidate, said: “Politics is far to focused on catchy slogans and popularist polices instead of concentrating on what is best for the people, their communities and enabling each person to achieve their full potential.
“The solution is to do things differently; so I chose to stand so that we can do things in a better way and change the country for the better.
“The Liberal Democrats will reverse the cuts to education, add a penny on income tax to fund health and social care, and ensure the public have the final say on the Brexit deal. Keeping Britain open, tolerant and united.”
The elections take place on Thursday June 8.