Happy to debate our ‘positive plan’ - Sheffield Hallam MP Nick Clegg

Nick Clegg, current Sheffield Hallam MP
Nick Clegg, current Sheffield Hallam MP
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It’s fantastic that The Star is hosting a debate for all candidates, writes current Sheffield Hallam MP Nick Clegg.

The choice in Sheffield Hallam is between the Liberal Democrats and Ed Miliband’s Labour Party. We’ve all heard a lot of doom and gloom from Labour in recent years: blaming the coalition for everything; denying that difficult decisions were needed after the economic mess they left behind; claiming that the future is bleak for Sheffield.

But I don’t think it’s right to talk down Sheffield. Times have been tough for many people as we recover from the recession in 2008, but lets not forget all the good things that have happened in Sheffield.

Liberal Democrats have delivered an £825 tax cut to more than 200,000 people in Sheffield, secured £1.2bn investment to deliver the biggest road and pavement resurfacing project in the country and invested more than £62m in Sheffield to help disadvantaged children through the Pupil Premium.

Our economic plan has helped cut unemployment by 37 per cent across Sheffield since 2010. In Sheffield Hallam it’s down over 50 per cent, making it one of the lowest in the country. We have a record number of young people taking on apprenticeships, a record number of people in work and an economy that is growing again after the heart attack it suffered in 2008. As well as a stronger economy, Liberal Democrats are delivering a fairer society too.

Across the city 18,000 infants now receive free school meals, 16,000 toddlers receive free early years education and 90,000 pensioners received the largest ever cash increase in the state pension. Those things wouldn’t be happening without the Liberal Democrats in Government.

That’s very different to Labour’s 2010 predictions. They said that Sheffield would face a “post-Soviet meltdown” with people left to fend for themselves, and have criticised our economic strategy every step of the way.

But far from learning the lessons of the crash, Labour seem doomed to repeat them. Labour run Sheffield Council have mismanaged local taxpayers’ money by spending millions on refurbishing council buildings and axing 121 grit bins to save just £7,000. Now they’re hiking your council tax to pay for those mistakes.

Representing Sheffield Hallam is the greatest honour I have in politics and I’m excited about what we can achieve for Sheffield to build both a stronger economy and a fairer society.

I look forward to helping to deliver more tax cuts for working families, more money for the NHS, specifically mental health services, a protected education budget from cradle to college, a sustainable transport network and delivery of brand spanking new roads and pavements for the entire city.

The Liberal Democrat plan for Sheffield is a positive one I’m happy to debate with anyone.

- The Star is hosting an exclusive election debate with the candidates for Sheffield Hallam in the run-up to the general election.

Send your readers’ questions to ellen.beardmore@thestar.co.uk

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