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Ham&High in-depth analysis: candidates quizzed by community (part 2)

PUBLISHED: 11:53 30 April 2010 | UPDATED: 16:57 07 September 2010

3) What will the candidates do about putting a freeze on the increase in business rates for independent traders who are facing increases of anything from 30 to 100 per cent? GJ: We will ensure that the small businesses know all the things that the govern

3) What will the candidates do about putting a freeze on the increase in business rates for independent traders who are facing increases of anything from 30 to 100 per cent?

GJ: We will ensure that the small businesses know all the things that the government has already put in place to assist businesses. In light of this recession the government has set out schemes to help businesses such as delaying paying their taxes and funds to help set up a business. SCORE = 1

EF: For the last 30 years central government has screwed local government and ring fenced business rates and put them up. The money should stay where it is raised and that way the local authority would have the power to vary business rates. They could have discussions and could help traders instead of pushing them out. SCORE = 2

CP: It is outrageous that the government increased business rates for small businesses at the worst possible time. I would push for higher small business rate relief and I would push for it to be automatic because many small traders do not know about it. SCORE = 4

BC: We have policies about simplifying the way in which small businesses pay tax and national insurance, the minimum wage and we will simplify laws so that small businesses operating in residential areas so they would be assisted in getting advice on regulations and energy efficiency. We would certainly reduce corporation tax to 20 per cent. SCORE = 1

4) What would you do to ensure that community centres continue to receive the financial support of local government?

GJ: I would argue for a change in local government. What we have seen from the Lib Dem Tory coalition is cuts not only in areas like community centres but also the selloff of council housing and the hike in the prices of meals on wheels. SCORE = 2

EF: I am a board member of Hampstead Community Centre and we have a long term agreement which works for us. I do not see any prospect of that changing Camden has a lot of community centres and that is one of its strengths but it is incumbent on the community to use them and value them and make them work. As long as there are residents involved it works but it requires them to be involved. SCORE =3

CP: Local government needs to reduce town hall bureaucracy and administration and get more money to the frontline for things like community centres. As a councillor for the last year I have been pushing for that and if elected as an MP I would keep pushing. SCORE = 2

BC: Community Centres cannot survive on a trade off between developers, local authorities and communities. They need secure funding to guarantee the residents can raise their voice to the big powers that surround them. SCORE = 3

5) Several large developments have been approved in our area recently against the wishes of local residents and sometimes the council so what would the candidates do to give local residents a great say in the planning and building of large developments in residential areas?

GJ: An enquiry is the last recourse for people and that is in the planning system so people can exercise their rights to use it. SCORE = 1

EF: We need to reverse planning law so that it favours residents not developers - we have put that forward and no other party has. The other parties have both let residents down and if we do not reverse planning laws we will continue with this mishmash of excuses to local residents. SCORE = 3

CP: We believe in localism which means devolving decisions to the most local level. A very important part of that is devolving planning decisions as far as possible to local communities so we do not have buildings like the Sager development against the wishes of residents. SCORE = 4

BC: This is something that is happening all over London. It is clear that council's are being pessimistic and sometimes passive in the way they are enlisting the law and enforcing it to ensure public participation. What we need is participation at the beginning of the process not the end. SCORE = 2

6) Would the candidates support the work of charities, who do not receive any revenue grants or subsidies and who benefit the local community by preserving its history and heritage, by campaigning for them to receive full rate relief?

GJ: You can't say yes to everything that requires money realistically - that is not the kind of world we are inhabiting. As far as charities are concerned it is like everything else. It is easy to say yes they should have money but it is not that easy in practice. What I have seen in the past is that charities suffering from financial difficulties can share premises with other charities and pool their resources to still be able to deliver the services that are valuable. SCORE = 2

EF: Yes. For example the Wells and Camden Trust and the Winchester Project are amazing and I would absolutely give local charities rate relief. If we are going to value the third sector we should properly resource it." SCORE = 3

CP: We believe that often charities and voluntary groups are much better than the state at providing some services, for example Kids Company in South London. In general we want to see more government spending channelled into the voluntary sector than into state organisations. That would improve their financial health. SCORE = 3

BC: My instinct is too say yes. It depends of course on what they are. I am not to think that all local campaigns are worthy but in general the answer would be yes. SCORE = 3


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