A general election used to be quite an easy affair for Lancashire residents, only having to choose between The Labour Party and the Conservatives. But widespread dissatisfaction of the current government coupled with a recent seven-way leader TV debate has given voters across the country more choice than ever before.
Regarding key housing issues, the UK’s 3 main political parties pledge the following if they were to get into power on May 7:
The Conservative Party
By 2020 the Conservatives want to make 200,000 starter homes in England available to first-time buyers, deliver 10,000 new below-market rented homes, relax the financial obligations expected of developers to enable more affordable housing options and extend the equity loan section until 2020 for the Help to Buy scheme.
The Labour Party
By 2025 they want to have doubled the amount of first-time buyers, build 200,000 houses per year, set new targets in order to upgrade the energy efficiency of privately rented properties, initiate a form of ‘Mansion Tax’ and completely reform the PRS “to get a fairer deal for private renters.”
The Liberal Democrat Party
Planning to build 300,000 new homes per year, the Lib Dems also want to introduce a ‘Mansion Tax’, create incentives for social landlords, scrap the ‘Bedroom Tax’, as well as building 30,000 ‘Rent-To-Own’ homes by 2020.
So in the run-up to the 2015 General Election on May 7, what’s going on in Lancashire and what issues do our community care about most?
Firstly, onetime Blackpool MP Harold Elletson has created a new political party to specifically represent the North of England community; The Northern Party. Launched on the 1 of April (although far from an April Fools joke!) they plan to contest at least 5 major seats in the Lancashire general election, as well as 4 key marginal seats.
Their leader Micheal Dawson claims that the party is a “northern rebellion against a system that has failed the North.” And despite its Lancastrian bias, Dawson insists the Northern Party has a pan-northern English focus and will represent Yorkshire, Cumbria, County Durham and Northumberland too.
“The real choice in this election is between the Tory and the Labour parties. I am as northern as they come, born in Liverpool and representing Rossendale and Darwen.” claims Conservative candidate Jake Berry.
And Labour candidate Will Straw said: “It is great people in Rossendale and Darwen will have a choice at the election but the true party for the north of England is the Labour Party which has got a clear plan to put an end to the unfair and disproportionate cuts.”
Lancashire County Council currently have 39 Labour councillors, 35 Tory councillors, 6 Liberal Democrats, 3 independents and 1 Green Party councillor. And with Labour looking to win back the seven seats they lost in 2010 this could prove a real challenge for them, especially in the constituencies of Rossendale & Darwen and Pendle and South Ribble.
Main issues the Lancashire community seem most passionate about:
- Improving the North’s economy.
- Farmers, young farmers and local traders.
- Fracking (the process of drilling into the earth and using water to extract oil and natural gas from inside shale rock) – The county appears to be divided on the current “Fracking” issue; where some welcome the prospects of extra jobs and money, whilst other fear possible damaging effects on the North Wests health and environment.
- HS2 – More than a quarter of small and medium-sized businesses across the North West believe the high-speed rail project will have a positive effect on the region and their business. Those opposed to the HS2 rail link are The Green Party and UKIP.
As many of you are still weighing up all the options available to you, please let us know what the most important issues you face are. And if you haven’t registered to vote yet, there’s still time as the deadline is 20 April 2015. Click here to register to vote in the May election.
Find out how you can benefit from the General Election; if you’re looking to sell property, buy property or rent out property in East Lancashire and the surrounding areas – by contacting us today, on 01254 760660 or email: Darwen@AinsworthLordEstates.com..