Ruth Cadbury Answers Your Questions
The Labour candidate for Brentford & Isleworth speaks to BrentfordTW8.com
Last week we asked our readers to submit question for Ruth Cadbury the Labour candidate in the General Election for Brentford and Isleworth. This was the third in the series of Q&As with the candidates in the seat.
We picked questions from the most popular subjects and the answers are published below:
Isn’t scrapping tuition fees just a tax break for the middle class? If you wanted to help disadvantaged students why not just increase maintenance grants?
Over the last seven years, the Tories, with support from the Lib Dems, have put a huge financial burden on young people wishing to go to University. In addition to fees of £9000, the Tories abolished maintenance grants which has meant all students have to borrow the entire cost of their University education, and this is putting off students from low-income families from applying.
Labour’s policy is about giving equal opportunities to everyone who wants to go to university. Scraping tuition fees and reintroducing the maintenance grant will end the privatisation of undergraduate education that we've seen since 2010, which has left graduates starting their careers of with debts of more than £40,000.
Are you concerned that the Mayor’s proposal to create an Ultra Low Emission Zone to the North Circular will increase pollution in Brentford and hit those in Chiswick on low incomes hardest?
I welcome Mayor Sadiq Khan's initiatives to cut air-polluion in London, but he can only do so much without the support of the Tory Government. He has urged the government to introduce his proposals for a diesel scrappage fund, which would support people on low incomes to replace older polluting vehicles I supported the extension of the ULEZ to the M25 as I feel that the whole constituency would benefit.
Would you serve in a government that was implementing Brexit?
The legal process towards Brexit has started so we are past the point of not implementing Brexit. The issue is what sort of Brexit we are heading towards. It's essential that whatever happens, we protect the jobs and rights of British people. The best way to do that is by remaining within the single market or retaining the rights and conditions of the single market.
Doesn’t increasing corporation tax unfairly target British companies who pay it and give an advantage to their multinational competitors who don’t? (As no country has successfully made MNCs pay higher rates of tax an answer that contends we should tax them more wouldn’t be valid)
Corporation tax provides an important source of income from which companies benefit, from education and other public services. There is little, if any, evidence that lowering CT is a trigger for increasing investment levels.
Corporation tax in the UK is the lowest of any major developed economy. Our new settlement with business will ask large corporations to pay a little more while still keeping our corporation tax among the lowest of the major developed economies. In turn, we will meet the business need for a more skilled workforce with extra corporate tax revenues while contributing to education and skills budgets.
It's right that MNCs pay corporation tax, and we need trans national action to ensure this is done. I supported Labour’s Caroline Flint in her amendment to the 2016 finance bill, which, having resisted adopting the amendment, the Tories conceded and at the last minute accepted, the only opposition amendment the Government accepted to that Bill. It is vital our Government works to ensure that MNCs are forced to be transparent about their tax arrangements.
How many jobs will be created locally if the Third Runway proceeds and what would you say to those that lose their jobs if it doesn’t?
No-one who works at Heathrow now will lose their jobs if the new runway doesn't go ahead. Heathrow supports thousands of jobs and businesses in our community and I want it to continue to do so. But another runway with a 50 % increase in flights is a price too high. With a third runway, the whole of this constituency will increasingly unacceptably high noise levels, the impact on air quality will be devastating. I am firmly committed to improving the UK’s connections with the rest the world and to creating better transport links within the UK. But the cost, the safety risk and the impact on our communities doesn’t justify the marginal economic benefit that expansion is alleged to bring. There are better solutions to the UK’s aviation capacity problems. I want less noise and air pollution and I want Heathrow to be better, not bigger.
Would you continue to attend Brentford football matches at the new stadium if their ‘enabling development’ contains no affordable housing?
I generally attend one or two matches per season and I see no reason not to continue to do that. The Government has pulled out of funding truly affordable housing. The choice at Lionel Road was to continue the site's use as a waste transfer operation requiring 250 heavy lorry movements a day, or to have a community stadium providing a long-term home for Brentford Football club, as well as flats that will provide much-needed homes. Without Government funding for social-rent housing, there never was a possibility of having truly affordable homes AND a football stadium.
Why do you think it is a good idea to split Chiswick down the middle in the new constituency boundaries you have suggested to the Boundary Commission?
Chiswick is Chiswick, a town and community with a clear identity. It's currently situated mainly in the borough of Hounslow, with small parts in Ealing and Hammersmith boroughs, and there are no proposals to change that. The proposal I supported for the parliamentary boundary change was part of a proposal to retain both Parliamentary seats in Hounslow borough.
The criteria the boundary commission are working with created illogical boundaries- the population size is the first criteria, over and above natural or existing local authority boundaries. At present, Hounslow borough has two parliamentary seats whose boundaries match with the borough boundary. That makes a lot of sense and works for both the elected and the electors. However, that option was not allowed, so I supported what I saw as the most sensible one - a constituency that sits wholly in one borough. I accept it's not ideal but it's better than the alternative being proposed.
Why isn’t Labour pledging to scrap the benefits cap?
Jeremy Corbyn has committed to uprate benefits. The Universal Credit benefit changes are having a major effect on people here, the roll out Universal Credit has been shambolic and is leaving too many families in this area without money for food, or for rent. The benefits system must be reviewed and overhauled in its entirety after the mess the Tories have made of it.
What number of seats would you say Labour need to win for the result to be an endorsement of Jeremy Corbyn’s continued leadership of the party?
This is a General Election, not an internal Labour leadership contest. Theresa May called this election for her own opportunist reasons, and yet has shied away from having a debate with Jeremy Corbyn.
My primary focus is on winning this seat so that the people living here continue to have a parliamentary representative who actually cares about them, the alternative on offer is an MP who will just do whatever Theresa May says. Labour’s manifesto offers policies which will benefit the many not the few and I want to see as many Labour MPs returned to parliament as needed so we can implement our manifesto pledges and improve the lives of everyone in this country.
Why is Labour committed to maintaining the triple lock on pensions at a time when the income of pensioners is rising above that of those of working age?
It is right that pensions are protected. People have paid in all their working lives and, unlike most people of working age, have no opportunity to increase their income.
As a Quaker how can you support a manifesto that commits us to renew Trident?
Occasionally candidates differ from their party on issues of conscience, and, as a Quaker, I did not support the vote on the renewal of Trident.
If limits on public sector pay are removed how can the electorate be sure that the NHS won’t have to make further cuts to fund higher salaries?
Public sector workers, like all workers, should be paid properly and public services should be funded properly. All the improvements in waiting times achieved during the Labour government have now been reversed in the seven years since the Tories came to power.
Nurses, midwives and other key workers have endured years of pay freezes, NHS staff have been undervalued, overworked and underpaid under the Tories for long enough. This has created a recruitment crisis in the NHS which must be addressed, the Labour manifesto pledges have all been fully costed.
There was £14 million of section 106 money set aside for transport improvements when Chiswick Business Park was built. Do you think it defensible that little or none of this was spent on Gunnersbury station?
I have recently become Chair of Gunnersbury Station Action Group at the request of the local residents associations who have been understandably frustrated at the slow pace of activity to relieve the appalling level of overcrowding at Gunnersbury Station, particularly since the final building on Chiswick Business Park was completed. I am pleased that the legal agreements for the new footbridge over to Chiswick Park station have now been signed off by the London Mayor, Hounslow, Ealing and the Developers and the bridge is now due to open by the end of next year. TfL have spent S106 funding which has improved capacity in the ticket hall area at Gunnersbury station and they tell me that the work to clear the clutter on the platform will start very shortly. In the long run it is essential that at least one more exit from the platform up to street level is provided in order to relieve the pressure on the single existing staircase."
There is nothing in the Labour manifesto about reversing the decline of local media and the rise in dominance of Facebook. What policies do you think would help to tackle this problem?
I regret the loss of the local papers when everyone in the area got the same paper through their door. However, for so many reasons, hard-copy news is in sharp decline which means those without on-line access are the most excluded. There are strengths in on-line media, but there is little control, especially with the rise of fake news. Media is changing so fast that it's difficult for party and government policy to keep up.
June 2, 2017