Fighting city’s corner will be my priority says Labour’s Sheffield Hallam candidate Oliver Coppard

Oliver Coppard, Labour parliamentary candidate for Sheffield Hallam.
Oliver Coppard, Labour parliamentary candidate for Sheffield Hallam.
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More than anything, the people I speak to in Sheffield Hallam want a Member of Parliament who they can trust to stand up for this community and this city, writes Oliver Coppard, Labour parliamentary candidate for Sheffield Hallam.

I was born and raised here and I am proud to still call Sheffield my home.

If I am elected as your Member of Parliament in May, fighting Sheffield’s corner will be my priority.

It simply cannot be right that this Government spends £770.56 per person on infrastructure in London, but just £2.52 per person here in Yorkshire, or that our city has seen its funding cut by half, while places like Surrey have been given even more money for local services.

I first wrote to Nick Clegg 12 months ago asking him to debate this very issue; specifically the consequences of his decision to cut South Yorkshire’s European Union funding by 50 per cent, while increasing the money going to Scotland by 5 per cent.

More recently, you may have seen the coverage in this paper of my petition calling for him to agree to a pre-election debate, and later the cross party statement that I signed with the Conservative and Green Party candidates in Hallam, in which we jointly set out our disappointment that he was not willing to agree to take part in hustings here in Sheffield. I am therefore more pleased than anyone that we will actually have a debate here in the run up to the 2015 election, and that our current MP has – at last – agreed to join that debate.

I have no doubt that Nick Clegg has had to make difficult choices over the past five years or that essentially he is a decent bloke doing a tough job.

However, the concern I share with so many people is that almost every decision that Mr Clegg has taken has disadvantaged Sheffield and flown in the face of the promises he made in the run up the last election.

Cutting the loan to Sheffield Forgemasters, trebling tuition fees, huge cuts to the money coming into our city and the dismantling of our NHS; these are all political decisions, but decisions we were promised would not be supported by our local Member of Parliament.

This city and this country have some big challenges ahead.

The Labour Party has a bold and radical plan for securing the future of the NHS, protecting public services, reducing inequality and growing our economy while also preventing climate change.

I am proud to support that agenda.

However, regardless of who forms the next government after the general election in May, if I am the MP for Sheffield Hallam I will always put the interests of this community first.

That is why in the run up to the election on Thursday, May 7, I am looking forward to discussing and debating not only my priorities for this community, but the hopes, concerns and priorities of the people who live here.

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