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My manifesto for Rye and the villages!

April 9, 2015
Nick has been working in  and for Rye and the villages since 2007

Nick has been working in and for Rye and the villages since 2007

Last week I sent an email to my list of contacts across the constituency outlining my vision for Hastings (and St Leonards) over the next five years.

Quite rightly and properly, it was not long before I received an email back from a disgruntled Ryer saying how interesting all this was, but had Rye been forgotten – again?

Certainly not, is the truth!  But it is important to acknowledge that different areas of our constituency have different needs, and that although there are many common issues, we shouldn’t have a one-size-fits-all approach.

And so this post is dedicated entirely to Rye and District; and I hope you Hastings & St Leonards residents won’t be offended!

Having spent 15 years working in frontline mental health services I know first-hand how important it is to have a properly funded NHS – not just meeting our physical health needs, but our mental health needs too.

And that’s why I have spent the last eight years campaigning for excellent emergency services across the whole of East Sussex.

It is particularly important for the East of the constituency to have timely access to key services.  That is why from 2007 onwards I fought tooth and nail against losing maternity services at the Conquest, and why during this Parliament, I campaigned for us not to lose Stroke Services; and why I will defend local Health services against misguided downsizing and reorganisation every time this is attempted.   And despite problematic national and local trends for General Practice, I will work to ensure that we have sufficient numbers of GPs per head of population in our constituency.

I am proud to tell you that the Liberal Democrats have committed to delivering the £8bn that the Head of the NHS, Simon Stevens, says it needs over the course of the next Parliament.

We can only make this investment because we have put the country’s finances in order and turned the economy around.  We have halved the deficit and created nearly 2 million jobs.  That is how we are different from Labour.

But Liberal Democrats in Government have created a stronger, greener economy in order to underwrite a fairer society, so that there is opportunity for everyone.  Our priorities have been totally different from the Conservatives.

We have taken millions of people on low wages out of tax, benefitting many in Rye and our villages, and we aim to take everyone earning the Minimum Wage out of tax altogether.

We have created nearly two million apprenticeships and we have more work to do, in order to ensure that our young people have a future in which they can excel – not just if they are academic, but if they have talents that are optimised by a superb vocational and experiential education.

Liberal Democrats have spent £2.5bn each year of this Parliament targeting money at school children from disadvantaged backgrounds.  If elected, I will make my priority the provision of excellent local schools across our constituency, helping to protect education spending from cradle to college.

I will also campaign for a change of direction in our regeneration efforts – away from building empty office space, to investing in homes and people, as well as regenerating the sports and community facilities of Rye, and in the villages.

This is a way of fighting social exclusion, but is also key to improving public health as well.

And in order to help with this process I will join forces with any progressives who want to take on Rother District Council‎, and realise proper decision-making powers for Rye and the villages.

I will continue to fight for a fairer deal for our fishermen; and I will do all I can to support Rye’s well-deserved reputation as a premium tourism destination.

And I will deliver the improvement of our public transport infrastructure that we all want to see, demanding the electrification of the railway to Ashford sooner than the HS1 extension, and the creation of a South Coast Mainline Railway.

I will also lead the debate on how to manage the infrastructure implications of HS1 in Rye town centre, and will champion park and ride solutions for the station, and improved cycling and walking infrastructure.

I will be a skilled and an independent-minded advocate for the people of Rye, and the villages of our constituency, at Westminster.  I will bring to the job of MP a wealth of experience from a working life outside of politics, dedicated to the most vulnerable in our society.

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