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Ham&High in-depth analysis: candidates quizzed by community (part 8)

PUBLISHED: 11:48 30 April 2010 | UPDATED: 16:57 07 September 2010

4) Will they confirm the value of the Freedom Pass to helping keep older people independent and in contact with their support networks for longer? GL: We are guaranteeing the Freedom pass will be kept for pensioners and in my view there is a special cas

4) Will they confirm the value of the Freedom Pass to helping keep older people independent and in contact with their support networks for longer?

GL: We are guaranteeing the Freedom pass will be kept for pensioners and in my view there is a special case for disabled people as well. SCORE = 2

JS: Yes I will. I've been campaigning to reverse the government policy which led to a reduction in funding for London councils and put it under threat. SCORE = 1

NB: We think access to public transport is a key right and it has to be maintained. We'll keep that up and ensure pensioners have the resources to pay for a cup of tea when they travel. They need resources beyond access to travel and we plan to increase their weekly living allowance to £170 a week (from £99 at the moment) for a single person to £170; and £300 for a couple. SCORE = 3

FD: Yes - certainly. I welcome the Government's decision to provide free local bus travel in every part of the country. SCORE = 4

5) Why are you standing?

GL: Because there are too many career politicians and lawyers and journalists in parliament who have no idea how real life works. They have never managed or run complex organisations and that is why we have these problems. They don't have any idea. Jacqui Smith admitted herself she had no idea how to run the Home Office. There are too many who know nothing about this or that but end up getting made chancellor. They need a lot more people with real life experiences in parliament. I have worked for 20 years in the public sector with the Met and the MOD and 13 years in the private sector. SCORE = 2

JS: I want to make a difference to my area. I want to be able to stand up for people. I absolutely love this part of Camden. I think it's the best place to live in the world. SCORE = 0

NB: I'm standing because I think society has been headed in the wrong direction and it's realised that and we're at a decisive point where people want to turn that around. My party offers a truly different direction to go in. SCORE = 1

FD: Because I think I've done a reasonably good job over the years as the MP for the area and I remain committed to trying to look after the people in this area. I'm involved in some current campaigns like trying to protect the residents in affordable housing in the Crown Estate and to get rid of the proposed high speed train link at Euston. And a lot of people have urged me to continue. SCORE = 4

6) Rather than Camden's much loved Regent's Canal only being a backdrop to the Kings Cross development and Camden Market, how would you bring the Regents Canal back to life, and busy with boats of all kinds, including freight transport?

GL: I think that is a great idea. I think waterways are under used. Most people love water. We need to consider conservation damage. I will want to work with local businesses and tenants to make sure we make more use of the waterways. It is a great place for homes, shops, businesses and entertainment. There is nothing more leisurely than getting on a boat and going somewhere. SCORE = 3

JS: This goes back to the first question. If we transported more things by water, which we could do because we've got the infrastructure, it would reduce our carbon emissions. We've got a fantastic resource with the canals and I think they are scandalously underused and should be used a lot more. SCORE = 4

NB: My party colleagues on the London Assembly have put a lot of work in to trying to ensure with the Olympic construction that the canals are used. I'd use that as a model to get HGVs and and lorries off our roads, which basically means it's part of the development plan. SCORE = 4

FD: I've a long term commitment to try to make better use of the canal. The canal towpaths were open to the public when I was in charge of leisure services at Camden Council - prior to that it was banned. I campaigned on behalf of the houseboat people to try and protect their interests during and after the redevelopment at King's Cross. I think there should certainly be more boat use on the canal. Whether we can get people to transport goods that way I really don't know. In this age when everything is speeded up and businesses hold large stocks it would be hard to get things back on canals. But there's no harm in trying. SCORE = 3

7) What will you do to help small local businesses in terms of parking, rates and rent fees?

GL: In terms of parking, this is an issue I have already raised with my colleagues in council. I come from a small business family, we want to cut the amount of red tape that businesses have to go through. Businesses effectively spend billions of pounds each year on filling in government forms. We need to get rid of that. We need to reduce their corporate tax rate from 22 per cent to 20 per cent. We will ensure that business will get a corporate rate rebate automatically. We will also oppose the Lib Dem proposal to link business rates with land values. We are totally against that. SCORE = 3

JS: I think business rates should be brought back into local council control. At the moment they are set nationally which is not responsive to local business needs or the needs of the community, which is just crazy. Rents are set by whoever the landlord is and I'm not sure there is a great deal that the government can do about that.

Parking rates: we need to do more to get people to shop without their cars and do it more sensitively if they do use their cars. SCORE = 1

NB: We think small local businesses are at the core of the community and what we want to do is make sure they have spaces available. Our local councillors have been fighting to get lots of small shops into the Highgate Newtown development rather that just having one big development.

I want to be able to make sure people are able to stop to get a pint of milk and without parking wardens lurking to jump on them. SCORE = 4

I want to make sure that where the council is setting the rent, good local businesses are able to stay there. In Camden, there are lots of shops where the council owns the building. We also need to re-examine how rates are set.

FD: One of the biggest problems is the consistent escalation of rents, which were described by Winston Churchill in 1910 as a preliminary tax on all economic activity. I think we've all suffered from the escalation in property prices. We need to resist the threat to small businesses from large businesses. We need a system so that people with legitimate reasons can park - like when a piece of equipment at a business goes on the blink and a bloke in a van comes to fix it. You need planning policies that reflect the need to keep small businesses going. SCORE = 2


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