General election 2017: Which candidate will get your vote in Halifax?

Walking column photos, Halifax, viewed from Beacon Hill
Walking column photos, Halifax, viewed from Beacon Hill

With just three weeks to go until the general election, the Halifax Courier is putting the spotlight on the candidates fighting to win your votes on June 8.

Labour, the Conservatives, the Liberal Democrats and UKIP have all fielded candidates for Halifax, one being incumbent Labour MP Holly Lynch.

Halifax candidates. From top left: Holly Lynch (Labour), Chris Pearson (Conservative), James Baker (Liberal Democrats), Mark Weedon (UKIP).

Halifax candidates. From top left: Holly Lynch (Labour), Chris Pearson (Conservative), James Baker (Liberal Democrats), Mark Weedon (UKIP).

Halifax was one of the key marginal seats of the 2015 general election and one which Labour managed to hold on to with a majority of just 428 over Conservative candidate Philip Allott.

Here, the candidates outline their vision for the town.

CONSTITUENCY PROFILE

POPULATION: 90,000

Includes: Illingworth and Mixenden, Northowram and Shelf, Ovenden, Park, Skircoat, Sowerby Bridge, Town and Warley.

Labour has held the seat since 1987 following the election of Alice Mahon.

Holly Lynch was elected in the 2015 general election when Linda Riordan stepped down after 10 years

Labour: Holly Lynch

For the past two years, I’m proud to have been the Member of Parliament for my hometown.

I’ve already had a positive impact locally and put the issues that matter to us on the agenda in Westminster; campaigning to protect jobs, services and people’s livelihoods.

I have made defending our emergency services a priority after years of Tory cuts. I will keep fighting for Halifax to get the police we need to keep our streets safe and tackle anti-social behaviour.

I have worked tirelessly to stop the Conservatives raiding the education budget. If their current proposals go ahead we’ll see the worst hit primary school in Halifax lose over £65,000 a year from their budget, and 4 of the 5 secondary schools lose out, when finances are already severely squeezed.

If another Conservative Government is elected next month this will mean more damage to our town from the party which has closed our courts, threatened the A&E and seen the Crown Post Office close and left empty on Commercial Street. It will be my name on the ballot paper meaning the choice here in Halifax is whether to be represented by a Conservative candidate, who will wave through further cuts, or a strong representative and champion of our town.

Halifax has an exciting future, with the revamped Piece Hall set to open this summer, and my work here isn’t finished.

I hope voters will judge me on my record and put their faith in me to continue serving my hometown.

Conservative: Chris Pearson

I will champion Halifax at the heart of Government, securing investment for vital infrastructure and transport improvements. This will provide businesses with the conditions they need to thrive and reinvigorate Halifax’s proud tradition as an entrepreneurial town.

Conservatives have rebuilt a strong economy. It has supported employment reaching record levels; in Halifax that means 2,117 more people are in work since 2010. My vision is that everyone who is able to work, has the opportunity of a good job.

I will co-operate with our police, to challenge the root causes of crime and anti-social behaviour. I want to see crime rates fall.

Conservative policies since 2010 have worked; recorded crime levels have fallen to their lowest levels since 1981.

But, there is more to-do, to ensure you feel safe, wherever you live in Halifax.

Conservatives have delivered the highest level of funding into health and social care. Halifax deserves a health and social care system of the highest quality. People deserve a system that can respond quickly to their needs. With lifelong personal experience and over a decade of professional experience caring for people with complex health and disabilities, I see what works.

More importantly I know the challenges and the solutions required to ensure our health and social care services can meet ever growing demand.

Liberal Democrats: James Baker

I have a track record of delivery. As a local councillor I’ve delivered extra funding for a traffic cop, a £1.6M affordable warmth scheme and campaigned to protect our local environment and greenbelt.

Here is what I would do as your MP.

On health - The NHS saved my life and I am fighting now to save the NHS. The Liberal Democrats have a policy of putting an extra 1p on every £1 of income tax. It would raise an extra £32M for Calderdale’s NHS and £7M for social care. In particular we need to use this funding to improve mental health services and to tackle the high male suicide rate in Halifax.

On education I am opposed to the cuts to local schools that the Conservatives are bringing in. The Liberal Democrats would reverse these cuts and put extra money into the pupil premium to ensure everyone gets a fair start in life.

On crime I would tackle the drug gangs in Halifax by regulating the cannabis market. A regulated cannabis market would raise £1 Billion a year in taxes, deprive the Halifax drug gangs of a source of income, and free up police time to tackle burglaries and violent crime.

On Brexit I am the only candidate who is offering voters a final say on the deal. All the other candidates will back a hard Brexit even if it damages local jobs and the economy. Personally I think Brexit will be a disaster for local people and jobs.

UKIP: Mark Weedon

If you are in favour of leaving the EU but do not want to see cuts to your local public services then UKIP is the perfect party for you.

The Westminster establishment parties promise many things to gain your trust but rarely deliver on these promises. On the other hand UKIP successfully delivered on the only promise it made to you – a majority for leave during the referendum. We DO deliver on our pledges.

Although opinion polls are not 100 percent accurate, they do strongly point to the Tories taking Halifax from Labour by a large margin.

If you are someone who is concerned about Tory cuts to public services then please lend me your vote and I will ensure that Halifax public services continue to be protected.

If you are a voter who believes in leaving the EU and are considering not voting UKIP, then please be true to yourself and vote UKIP as your guard dogs of Brexit. You will be doing this safe in the knowledge that you will not be splitting the vote and letting Labour in.

If you do not usually vote but turned out to vote Leave in the referendum, then I ask that you take the time to vote this time and make that vote a UKIP one.

I ask this because this election is equally as important as the referendum in making sure that your wish to leave the EU is respected. Your vote really will make a difference this time.

The deadline for registering to vote in next months general election is 11.59pm on Monday, May 22.

To register, click here