We must protect and grow economy - Sheffield Hallam Conservative candidate Ian Walker

Ian Walker, Conservative candidate
Ian Walker, Conservative candidate
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This election will be the most important for a generation - with voters being able to decide between two very different paths for our country.

It will be either David Cameron or Ed Miliband as PM. Each has made their very different policies clear and you will choose.

In Hallam there are other factors.

I believe MPs should be LOCAL people, from the community chosen by voters to represent their best interests in Parliament.

I’m a northern Conservative, born and bred in Hallam.

I’ve been married for 30 years and we brought up our four children here.

We use the local shops, schools, GP surgeries, hospitals, district nurses and care homes.

Yorkshire folk are straight-talking people, inherently suspicious of career politician and their widely trumpeted, but then broken, promises and even signed pledges.

On the doorstep people tell me they want an MP who they can trust.

I’m an engineer and have spent most of my life running manufacturing and exporting businesses in Sheffield, two of which I started myself.

Ten per cent of our workforce are apprentices and we work closely with the Sheffield universities, employing graduates: so I know the issues facing industry here first hand.

I’ve always tried to give back.

I was chair of Sheffield’s Training and Enterprise Council: training apprentices and helping small businesses grow.

Fighting for Sheffield, I helped secure £2bn funding for jobs growth and lobbied for Sheffield’s first University Technical College.

My children went to local schools, so I’m acutely aware of parents’ concerns and challenges facing our schools.

I chair a local school and I’m on the court at the university: trying to give our young folk the best possible start in life.

Only by helping businesses grow can we create more skilled jobs.

Regarding the NHS: not only do I care about it, I’ve had a leadership role in it for ten years. I was a director of Sheffield’s Health Authority and its successors, chairing the Audit Committee for NHS North of England. A key focus of mine was on reducing health inequalities: we achieved a 10 per cent improvement.

We can be proud of our NHS with its world-class doctors and nurses. I am determined the NHS will continue to thrive and I want to invest extra to give us better systems and more trained people.

We can only do this if we protect and grow our economy.

Hallam has traditionally been Conservative. In 2010 we came second and the latest polls put us neck and neck with the Lib Dems. Labour has never won.

The Lib Dems want to put taxes back up and could let Labour in by the back door if we had another hung parliament.