General Election 2017: What chance a change in steelworking Penistone and Stocksbridge seat?

Stocksbridge
Stocksbridge
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If you only speak to political commentators, Penistone and Stocksbridge could be a Conservative constituency on June 9.

Labour’s Angela Smith doubled her majority in 2015, winning 19,691 votes compared to the Tories’ Steven Jackson on 12,986 and the UK Independence Party’s candidate Graeme Waddicar on 10,738.

Karen Lewis

Karen Lewis

But with the EU referendum out of the way, there are suggestions those who voted Ukip last time round may switch to the Conservatives, putting Mrs Smith under threat.

That message, though, is not one that resonates with Karen Lewis. The 57-year-old from Oughtibridge said Ukip was ‘all right’ but she would vote Labour as Conservative leader Theresa May was ‘another Thatcher’.

“The mining industry shut down completely under her,” said Karen.

“Now Theresa May is stopping free school meals for kids. That’s disgusting.

Chelsea Wilkins

Chelsea Wilkins

“It’s very difficult for people today, and Labour does help.”

Karen said she had never met Angela Smith, but one of the local issues she was concerned about was housing.

“I could never get a council property in this area,” she said. “It bugs me because we have got people coming from all over getting properties and I could never get one.”

However she did agree with the Conservative’s policy to means test the winter heating allowance.

Ian Dixon

Ian Dixon

“My mum will still get it, because she hasn’t got thousands of pounds,” said Karen.

“I just want Labour in because I’m just a normal person.”

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Chelsea Wilkins, 25, from Wharncliffe Side, also said she would vote Labour. She has recently graduated from a youth work course.

“It’s primarily based on poverty and the disadvantages that children and young people are facing,” she said.

“The harder it is for families, the harder it is for young people.”

Chelsea did blame Labour in part for today’s problems.

“Are we going to end up back in the same situation as we were five or 10 years ago?” she asked.

But she said people would be better off with Jeremy Corbyn as Prime Minister.

Ian Dixon, 43, also from Oughtibridge said it had ‘got to be Labour’.

“I think Labour is the part that tried to stand up for people round here,” he said.

Ian said he was mostly voting on national issues, but he did have concerns about development in Sheffield.

“There are a lot of student places getting built on really old buildings, and that upsets me,” he said.

Ian was also worried about the future of city industry. Oughtibridge and neighbouring Stocksbridge are traditional steel communities and have faced much uncertainty in recent years.

“The Government needs to support to traditional industries,” he said.

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