I have lived all my life in Tiverton: firstly in the Westexe area growing up, then in the town centre, and since November 2017 in Cowleymoor. I am the only true Tivertonian candidate for Tiverton East and I have the interests of the town deep at heart.
I have worked at Heathcoat Fabrics since leaving school in 1987 in various roles on the shop floor. My current job is in the Knitting Department, loading warps into the knitting machines. I have been a shop steward in the union since around 1992, and I am currently Chairman of the Unite branch based on the premises. We are very proud to have produced the fabric that recently ensured the safe landing of the NASA rover on Mars; a great achievement for a small Devon company.
I joined the Labour Party 4 years ago, inspired by the manifesto, and am in favour of bringing the utility services and rail network back under the public umbrella, as well as the electric, gas, phone and railway companies, which make large profits and should never have been sold by the Tories. The profits they make now are the missing funds that could support the NHS and other vital services.
As a Devon resident all my life, one of the main frustrations I have had over the years is the cost of rail travel to London and the north. The prices quoted always push me into driving and I would like to see the costs more even for everyone, so we can leave our cars and use the train more. The benefits for pollution reduction and congestion, and potential for accidents on the motorways, if we could all afford to use the train more would be so beneficial.
Another frustrating thing about living in Devon has been the lack of a facility to hold concerts and live music. Instead of driving to Cardiff, Bristol or further afield in London and the north, Devonians need a a facility that could hold around 8-10 thousand people for such things, either in Exeter or Plymouth. This would bring in tourism, and would rejuvenate an area whilst reducing travel costs and time for us locals. So it’s something I’d like to champion.
As a Tivertonian I also want to focus on working with the district council on getting the town centre rejuvenated. It is currently is overloaded with charity shops, hairdressers, banks and takeaways. We must find a way to attract more diverse businesses and make Tiverton a place to go shopping again. This also includes improvements to the roads in the area, which are currently in a poor state due to underfunding from the Tory government and council.
I am a local referee in my spare time, and doing this I have realised the need for a 4G pitch. There are far too many times the local youth and adult games are called off due to the weather, and the state of the pitches, and this would solve that while at the same time being available for other sports. It would give the youths somewhere to go and join in these various sports, as there isn’t really anywhere for them currently. I would like to explore the possibility of having a 4G pitch at Amory Park. I’m sure this would eventually turn a profit for the community and tis money could be used for other funding, so it’s another thing I’d like to work with the district council on.
I’m also keen to see a reduction in the plastic waste that supermarkets use, as there is far too much waste in our recycling boxes each week. We need to find a strategic way to reduce this over the next 4 years.
We need Labour representation if we are going to fix the issue of affordable housing and the rent trap. How can it be right that people are paying £700-£900 a month on rent, and yet can’t get a mortgage which would often cost less. Once you are paying that sort of level of rent, how can you possibly afford to save for a deposit? The combination of low wages in Devon means that local young couples are struggling to get on the property ladder, and it’s vital that we find a way to address this.
So to sum it up, if I were elected as your representative in Tiverton East, I would work to address these key issues and as I am local and live in Cowleymoor I will be accessible for you to bring up any local concerns, and will do my best to resolve these for you.
The Labour Party Candidate for Tiverton East