ELECTION: Sheffield Heeley candidates spell out their priorities

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Seven candidates are standing for Sheffield Heeley after former MP Meg Munn stood down after 14 years.

Here they explain their priorities to voters and why they are standing.

Statements are in alphabetical order.

Stephen Castens - Conservative candidate

“Why I stood for Sheffield Heeley and what I am campaigning for.

I grew up in Sheffield and as a business man looking from the out side I have seen this city slowly decline.

It was once a city that was full of energy, a self starter, self motivated, self reliant, and if there was an engineering or steel challenge, no problem was too big to solve.

Yet that get up and go spirit has been drowned out by a dependency culture that kills the energy of the community. Too large a proportion of Sheffield’s employment is reliant on the public sector (it grew 80 per cent between 1998 and 2007) and many of our talented youngsters go elsewhere for career opportunities.

So now in Sheffield the answer is always no…before we know what’s the question?

I want to see a dynamic city with a strong cutting edge economy, we have the talent and the people, we do not have the local leadership. It’s a city that is perceived as being closed for business, yet if we go for the global opportunities that currently exist, invest in innovation, infrastructure, help our local businesses develop unique world beating products, this city could lead again. If German engineering cities can do it so can we!

A city like Sheffield needs a voice in all governments, what ever the colour and currently we do not have a conservative voice battling for us.

We have seen the rise of Manchester and Leeds and the idea of a Northern Powerhouse is very exciting, we need to be at the forefront of such projects.

A successful city can afford excellent services, so in Heeley, if you want someone who will fight hard for Sheffield, its people, its services and Sheffield business then vote Conservative.”

Simon Clement-Jones - Liberal Democrat candidate

“My name is Simon Clement Jones

I’m standing because I want Sheffield Heeley to have a stronger economy and a fairer society.

Back in 2010, the economy was on a precipice and we looked like we were going the same way as Greece thanks to Labour’s reckless economic management. They had mortgaged the future of the British people to the hilt and left us with the worst peacetime deficit in history.

Liberal Democrats stepped up to the plate in 2010 and delivered a strong and stable Government that have rescued the British economy and helped reduce unemployment in Sheffield by 36%.

We’ve invested an extra £62m in schools for disadvantaged pupils and delivered £1.2bn to bring our crumbling roads up to standard, as well as protecting NHS spending.

There are now more people in work in Sheffield, more apprenticeships in Sheffield and fewer young people not in education or unemployment (NEETS) than before.

Yes, there have been difficult decisions and no one is denying that. But without those tough choices, we’d be faced with the prospect of higher unemployment and worse living conditions for thousands of people across Sheffield.

Looking forward, Liberal Democrats are the only party to set out our plans to spend an extra £8bn on the NHS by 2020, as recommended by Simon Stevens. This is money that the NHS needs, but the Tories haven’t said where it will come from and Labour haven’t even promised to match that £8bn!

If you believe that Sheffield needs a stronger economy and a fairer society, then the only way to guarantee that is by voting Liberal Democrat in May.”

Howard Denby - Ukip candidate

“I have been criticised for saying I am not a politician, why? I am standing for a seat in the House of Commons, not the House of Career Politicians.

The whole point is I represent you, my constituents in Parliament, a commoner supervising civil servants that work for you, not themselves or major corporations.

If elected I will have just one job.

I will not seek to sell influence, I will always represent the majority views of my constituents, and I believe only UKIP “gets that”.

UKIP support immigration control, an issue that all mainstream parties are finally discussing.

The fact is failing to discuss and engage immigrants as equals has lead to the abuse of many of the most vulnerable children in our care. We have seen our security services being used by civil servants to close down investigations and protect the establishment; do you really believe that stopped?

We also shelter and protect organised crime bosses.

Despite evidence that often our aid is stolen, serves no useful purpose, never reaches the people who need it we still subsidise tyrants.

UKIP believe we should reduce foreign aid and ensure our money is well spent rather than make dictators and criminals richer and more powerful.

We also believe if health treatment is required, it makes more sense to build clinics and train staff overseas treating the sick in their own country.

UKIP only want to control immigration levels. We do not want to stop it - simply to apply sensible controls, providing a level playing field for all, something the immigrants from all backgrounds I have met support.

I think we need change and that is why I am asking you to vote UKIP on May 7.”

Louise Haigh - Labour candidate

“Growing up in Sheffield under the last Tory Government in a family affected by the miners’ strike shaped who I am and what I believe.

It led me to become a trade union rep and is why I’m standing in the General Election for Labour.

Over the last five years we’ve seen the Government’s austerity measures inflicted on working people, the disabled, the poor and the vulnerable in the name of deficit reduction yet the Government are now borrowing £200bn more than expected this year because wages haven’t risen as they should.

Quite simply, there is nothing ‘long-term’ about the Tories’ economic plan.

We can’t build a sustainable economy based on low pay, zero hours contracts and insecurity. For people looking for work - at the beginning of their working life or halfway through it - there’s little else out there and that’s simply not good enough.

We need to create decent jobs, on good wages that are highly skilled so we can get people working, paying taxes and funding our public services. And the only way we can do that is by changing the way our economy works - ensuring that public and private investment is directed towards productive industries like manufacturing

The economy is about so much more than investment or austerity.

We need to rebalance our economy so that we avoid the next financial crash and bring decent jobs to Sheffield. Only Labour will do that and it’s what I’ll fight for.”

David Haslett - English Democrats candidate

“Dear voter,

My name is David HasIett and I am honoured to have been selected to stand as the English Democrat candidate for Sheffield Heeley.

The English Democrats were formed to stand up for the people of England who have been underrepresented for too long. I elected I would be a strong voice for Sheffield and put local people first.

England needs its own parliament to put us in line with the Scottish, Irish and Welsh. We should not be the second class citizens off the UK.

Uncontrolled immigration as led to a housing shortage. We should be able to control our borders, and then there would be enough houses and no shortage.

Many of our young people can’t even get on the property ladder. This is a combination of the uncontrolled immigration causing a housing shortage and bringing down wages! It’s time to put the people of England first!

Vote English, Vote English Democrats-“Putting England First!”

Alan Munro - Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition candidate

“For five years the Tory/Lib-Dem Coalition has waged war against working people and the poor.

But Labour are hardly any different! Sheffield’s Labour council has meekly passed on the Tory government cuts by closing, cutting or privatising children’s centres, local libraries, residential homes, sports facilities, etc. And Ed Miliband has said that a Labour government would carry on with the deficit reduction budget cuts.

The trouble is Labour isn’t socialist anymore, it isn’t even Labour!

Ordinary people need an alternative to the austerity agenda of all the main parties and to the ‘more Tory than the Tories’ UKIP who scapegoat immigrants instead of blaming the super-rich 1%, the greedy bankers and speculators who got us in this mess.

That’s why TUSC stands up for the millions, not the millionaires.

As an active trade unionist, I’ve stood on picket lines in the city to support striking firefighters, NHS staff and re-cycling workers. In Norfolk Park where I’ve lived for over 20 years, I’m involved in the Tenants’ Association and have campaigned against the bedroom tax.

If I get elected I would not accept an MP’s inflated salary and expenses. I’d live on the average Sheffield wage, giving the rest back to good causes.

As a workers’ MP on a worker’s wage, I’ll fight for real jobs (not zero hours contracts) and for a £10 an hour minimum wage NOW.

We need more truly affordable social housing and rent controls, and i’ll campaign to bring local buses and re-cycling services back into public ownership.”

Rita Wilcock - Green candidate

“I have lived in Heeley for over 30 years and have brought up my family here.

I work in the constituency too, as a community health trainer, employed by Reach South Sheffield.

It aims to improve the quality of life of people in South Sheffield by running projects in adult learning, job clubs, health and social activities for all ages, and a community library. I support people to make healthy lifestyle changes and help them access community activities.

I see at first-hand how Government austerity policies are affecting the health and wellbeing of struggling communities.

Every day I see people striving against the odds to counter the effects of the Bedroom Tax, benefit sanctions, fuel poverty, zero hours contracts and cuts to advice services.

Our country is one of the richest in the world and yet is the most unequal in Europe. Only the Green Party challenges the cuts being forced on our communities – Labour have joined the Tories and Lib Dems in proposing more austerity cuts in their manifestos.

Big business and high earners must pay their fair share in taxation. That will allow us to pay for vital public services. We can fund a public, not privatised, NHS and an education system that enables young people to reach their full potential.

If elected, my focus will be to bring justice to the poorest and most vulnerable who have suffered most from the policies of the Tory led coalition government.”