We received many questions from our readers to put to the candidates in the election, we have below printed the questions and the unedited answers that we received from Jack Sen, UKIP Candidate. Jack’s answers are in bold.
1. Skelmersdale has long been advertised to attracting new business and investment to the town on the back of the transport links and ease of access to the motorway networks; however the public transport links are not nearly good enough. From early evening the bus times change to being only one an hour, and there are areas of Skelmersdale which are not served with their own bus route. What can be done to fix what is in all honesty, a shambles of a public transport system?
Skelmersdale bills itself as a world class place to do business-in fact it’s advertised as such as you enter. Although there are plenty of productive industrial estates in Skelmersdale, due to the influx of migrants from Eastern Europe and an artificial labour source, wages have been compressed, the job market saturated with unskilled labour, and our own training programs have been undermined as businesses can now get skills from people coming from abroad. This has to stop. Controlling our own immigration policy will do just that.
A town with a population of approximately 40,000 inhabitants certainly should have a railway station, and I am in full support of procuring funding and seeing it built. A fully operational station with links to Liverpool, Wigan and Preston would give the people of Skelmersdale the ability to travel farther afield for work, and families would not be bound by the sporadic bus service Skem suffers from.
2. What is your highest priority for Skelmersdale?
Hi HT. Making sure money earmarked for poorer communities is spent in the communities. Currently, Britain under the Barnett formula-a mechanism used by our Treasury to adjust the amounts of public expenditure allocated to Northern Ireland , Scotland and Wales -means that economically disadvantaged areas of Northern England, like Skelmersdale are left without money.
One of the main reasons I have such an enormous problem with how we allocate money in Britain is that we are currently allocating 20% more funding to Scotland than to England. Last year under the Barnett formula, Scotland received £10,152 per head, Wales, in spite of being poorer, got £9,709, and England a measly £8,529. A Labour/SNP coalition would see that disparity increase, with us getting even less. Another 5 years with a Conservative/Lib Dem coalition would most likely see it remain the same.
This is fundamentally wrong, undemocratic and runs against English interests. Only UKIP will scrap the Barnett formula and do right by northern England.
In 2010 the Conservatives said the Barnett formula was reaching “the end of its useful life”, but David Cameron, Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg-looking to appease Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish voters, have all said that it will continue, and it has ever since. We simply can’t trust the Lib/Lab/Con regime will ever resolve this issue.
Having an extra three thousand per head; estimates claim we might be in receipt of as much as 15 million pounds, per annum will give us an enormous boost, enabling us to spend more on the services we need to rejuvenate Skelmersdale.
And when the funding does arrive much of it is literally pinched by local QUANGO’s subsidised by the state, before it ever reaches us. I will see that every penny allocated to Skelmersdale is SPENT on Skelmersdale.
With revenue generated from scrapping Barnett, we will set up funds to subsidise young entrepreneurs, create start-up funds, raise the minimum allowance, pump money into education and community programs and services Skelmersdale needs to move forward.
I would also like to add that the Labour Party have had almost twenty five years to rejuvenate Skelmersdale, and done absolutely nothing to improve our quality of life. We still have to drive nearly an hour to get to an adult A & E, have one of the lowest household incomes in Britain, continue to see our rates and council taxes rise, and things are only getting worse.
Instead of choosing to increase pensions, child tax credits and entitlements in line with inflation, the Lib/Lab/Con regime send billions overseas in wasteful foreign aid & EU membership dues, spend hundreds of billions on foreign wars & drive down our wages with a maddening open door immigration policy.
And I haven’t touched on the hundreds of billions of pounds we are sending overseas in aid payments, EU membership dues and wars, that both major parties still support.
Only UKIP has a plan to recoup funds and bring them back home. So in short my number one priority is seeing that we get our fair share of the pie and use it locally.
Those of you that have been on the West Lancs website will know that in addition to rejuvenating the local economy, protecting our children from aggressive sex ed, grooming gangs enabled by social services and Westminster is also at the top my list of priorities.
If I am elected I will NEVER EVER support legislation that forces sex education, or Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender education being proposed by Westminster, on children in our pre/primary schools.
In fact, I will fight to see that much of the changes that Labour (as well as the equally extremist Lib Dems and Greens) are proposing, are kept away from our pre/primary school children’s curriculum with every fibre of my being. And unlike, the inept Tory party candidates, I will stand by my word.
The candidates that support this sort of selfishness are doing our children, and communities a great disservice.
I truly believe that a child’s wellbeing and right to innocence have to be defended at all costs, and that our children’s best interests should be prioritised over those of special interest groups.
3. What can be done to address the problems of adults from Skelmersdale having to travel to Southport for A&E services, would it not be possible to accommodate such a service in Ormskirk and if so how can it be paid for, and if not why not?
This is a major issue for me. My granddad suffered a great deal in his final years due to the fact that each time he had a medical emergency he had to be transported far from his home near Ormskirk, to Southport. My grandmother, who was unable to drive, was forced to take the bus into Southport every day just to visit him. We had to take a lot of time off work just so we could transport my grandparents to and from the hospital. It truly ruined the final year of his life.
Then there’s the fact that lives are being put at risk due to travel time to Southport which is unconscionable.
I have pledged from day one that I will bring back the adult A & E to Ormskirk Hospital and upgrade the Concourse walk-in centre so it can deal with more serious illness and injury. Due to the aforementioned personal experience, this is in fact one of my top priorities. I have consulted one of the region’s most respected GP’s who not only sits on a local NHS advisory board but who is also a supporter of ours, and he has assured me that we can accomplish it. If I am elected I give you my word that I will bring back an adult A & E to Ormskirk hospital.
It is true that decisions on these sorts of matters are made by NHS Trust Boards, but MP’s can certainly strong arm bureaucrats when they control the purse strings. We have too many inept politicians telling us their hands are tied. One’s hands are never tied if one exerts every possible tactic available to get the job done. I’ll do that if elected MP.
4. Although the plans for the redevelopment of Skelmersdale town centre have been approved, they have been stagnant for a long time and have brought a number of doubts as to whether they will become a reality. Do you think that the delays have been as a result of any possible conflicts between the developers and resident businesses? Do you think that the plans would have been enhanced and completed if all concerned parties had worked together?
Nothing would bring me greater pleasure than to see a town centre in Skelmersdale. In order to procure the funds needed for such a project we are going to need revenue. Originally, the plan was to secure revenue generated from stamp duty and taxes applied to the sale and purchase of houses. As that’s no longer an option we are going to need to find revenue from other sources.
As discussed there’s the additional funds we will generate from scrapping the Barnett formula. Then there’s the enormous amount of money we will save, ending unnecessary financial aid and EU membership dues as well as slowly ending our obligations overseas in Iraq, Afghanistan and the Mideast.
Unlike the Lib/Lab/Con candidates I have always been against sending our men and women to fight in senseless wars. It is in fact one of the primary reasons I joined UKIP. Our service men and women should be at home protecting our borders, not messing around in other people’s nations.
Although the Labour candidate has said that she would like to see a town centre (something she has been saying for over a decade) if her party forms a coalition government with the Scottish National Party, there’s not a chance that we will see more money sent our way.
Scotland will continue to see its healthcare and education improve while we continue to see funding cut. So, my answer would be that a town centre is vitally important, but we need to first find the funding. UKIP’s platform of cutting spending abroad and ending reliance on an anti-English Barnett formula will put us in a position where we very may well be able to accomplish development of a town centre in Skelmersdale. I would love to commit to building a gorgeous town centre, but we need to get the money. I’d head down to Westminster and demand that the money we are currently wasting overseas be spent on England’s more economically disadvantaged communities. At that point let’s make creating a town centre in Skem we can all be proud of a priority.
5. Do you agree that a town the size of Skelmersdale is surely in need of its own railway station? If so how, can this be brought to Skelmersdale and where would the location of the railway be of the most benefit to the town and its residents? If you disagree, what are the reasons that you believe would prevent Skelmersdale having its own station?
Hi Al. Yes certainly. There are sadly so many things a town the size of Skem’s should have that we don’t-a railway station is one of them. And I am in full support of procuring funding and seeing it built. A fully operational station with links to Liverpool, Wigan and Preston would give the people of Skelmersdale the ability to travel farther afield for work, and families need not be bound by the sporadic bus service Skem suffers from. Relying on outdated buses in 2015 that show up when they want to due to constant threats of schedule changes, to get to and from work, is simply not on.
6. With the immediate increase in knife crime are there any immediate plans to tackle the increase in numbers, or will there be a longer term plan aimed at bringing the number down?
Although one of the other candidates asserted that knife crime figures have dropped nationally, that’s certainly not the case locally. And I’d suggest telling that to families that have lost loved ones to violent crime. Crime is still a major problem in Skelmersdale. I believe we need to work with police officers, community representatives and have a first hand approach with local youth to truly tackle crime. Prevention is always the best cure. We need to tackle anti-social behaviour on a community and social level first. For people that refuse to comply, we need to properly enforce the law.
7. As a small business owner in Skelmersdale, working with the ECO and Green Deal schemes and struggling due to the actions of the energy companies, what is your policy on green energy; incentives, grants and subsidies for homeowners and landlords and Green Deal finance? How do you plan to tackle these issues in a way that will help Primus Energy to sustain and grow within Skelmersdale, creating jobs and helping individuals?
The green deal is supposed to be helping people make their homes more energy efficient, saving them money and reducing our ‘carbon footprint’ and impact on the environment, in both the short and long term. I’m all for policies that satisfy environmental concerns, however I think it is far more important we earmark money to tackle heating/energy poverty, than implement more regulation, which only drive up costs and hurt families. No one should have to keep their heat on 12 degrees in January in Britain because they can’t afford to pay the tax on energy usage. Taxes and loss of income resulting from misguided policies are counterproductive.
Regarding unnecessary energy regulations on small business: if it stifles growth, hurts small business and drives up your costs, I am against it. I know how hard it is to run a small business with bureaucrats breathing down your back.
8. A recent study by University College London using evidence from government departments, found that immigrants make a net contribution of £25 Billion to the UK. The study found that since 2000, European immigrants have paid 34% more in taxes than they claim back from the state; non-European immigrants paid 2% more. The study also found that immigrants are 45% less likely to receive state benefits or tax credits than people native to the UK, are 3% less likely to live in social housing and only 0.15% of the NHS budget is lost to ‘health tourism’.
Given these undeniable facts that are based on evidence collated by government how do you justify UKIP’s obsession with and cowardly attacks on immigrants and immigration?
Ben Basson, Green Party Candidate
Hi Ben. This study is flawed due to the fact it does not make a distinction between regions within the European Union.
There are currently several hundred thousand immigrants from France and Italy working in England. They give us an enormous net gain financially, have a minimal impact on our way of life due to how similar we are culturally, commit little crime and the benefits we receive from having them here, far outweigh the negatives. Agreed.
Then there are the newcomers hailing from countries that joined during the 2004 and 2007 enlargements, the vast majority of whom hail from former Soviet bloc nations like Poland. Most studies show that we either break even monetarily or show slight losses. When one calculates the cost of additional services (ie translation) we need to provide them, wage compression, human cost of crime, ethnic tension within our communities and cultural dilution, things get slightly more complicated.
Are you aware that Ministry of Justice recently revealed that in September of last year there “were 2,963 prisoners from 16 Eastern European countries which are either in the EU or preparing to join in the near future?”
The same study demonstrated that the number of EU inmates and suspects on remand from former Soviet bloc states had surged 61% in the last five years to well over 3,000. With average prison placement costing more than £36,000 a year, the bill came in at just under £110million.
When we take into account these figures, and the human cost of the crimes committed, no sane person can honestly say we benefit form 2004/07 enlargement immigration.
Besides, what is wrong with our deciding who comes into the country? We should have the right to choose the people that best fill our skills’ voids, can prove they can take care of themselves, speak our language and are able to assimilate. People don’t simply have a right to travel and live wherever they want. The borders are there for a reason.
Shouldn’t we have the right to control them?
What UKIP wants is to control its immigration policies and bring in people that make our country a better place to live for everyone. Even if there is a net gain in some areas, why not let us decide. Anyone truly interested in preserving our democracy would agree a referendum on the EU is necessary.