8th June 2017

Rutherglen Reformer - - Front Page -

With cam­paign­ing for the 2017 gen­eral elec­tion en­ter­ing the fi­nal week, the Re­former put all the can­di­dates in Ruther­glen and Hamil­ton West on the spot.

The six were quizzed on the is­sues af­fect­ing the com­mu­nity as they look to secure votes over the next seven days.

QUES­TION 1 What would you do to get the best deal for Ruther­glen and Cam­bus­lang, two towns that have ben­e­fited from EU in­vest­ment in the past?

Lib­eral Democrats want a pub­lic vote on the terms of Brexit with an op­tion to change our mind if they are dam­ag­ing.

The Brexit process, ini­ti­ated by the Tories be­cause of toxic di­vi­sions in their party, has been an in­com­pe­tent dis­as­ter from start to fin­ish.

Lib­eral Democrats want to stay in the Euro­pean Union or as close to it as pos­si­ble.

With the sav­ings made from Brexit it will be pos­si­ble for us to repli­cate EU fund­ing pro­grammes af­ter we leave the EU.

I would cam­paign to en­sure that the UK Govern­ment repli­cates these EU fund­ing pro­grammes as well as en­sur­ing that cur­rent lo­cal ini­tia­tives re­main fully funded for their du­ra­tion.

Whether re­main or leave, it’s in all of our in­ter­ests to secure the best deal. Vot­ing SNP will strengthen Scot­land’s hand in the Brexit process.

I will con­tinue the fight to pro­tect jobs and our lo­cal econ­omy, and keep pres­sure on the govern­ment to com­mit to con­tin­ued fu­ture struc­tural fund­ing.

Labour will fight to en­sure the best Brexit deal and the Scot­tish Labour man­i­festo in­cludes a pledge for jobs-first Brexit.

We will fight for anti-aus­ter­ity pol­i­tics through­out the UK, un­like the SNP who sim­ply want to use Brexit as an­other ex­cuse to call for a sec­ond di­vi­sive in­de­pen­dence ref­er­en­dum.

Leav­ing the EU presents both chal­lenges and op­por­tu­ni­ties for the UK.

The ne­go­ti­a­tions will re­quire strong lead­er­ship and only Theresa May as prime min­is­ter can pro­vide that.

This can be a great op­por­tu­nity for the whole of Scot­land as well as Ruther­glen and Cam­bus­lang. I

be­lieve that with Theresa May in charge we can emerge stronger, with a new part­ner­ship with our Euro­pean part­ners.

EU In­vest­ment – govern­ment funds will con­tinue to be avail­able for in­vest­ment, af­ter Brexit, but from the Bri­tish and Scot­tish gov­ern­ments rather than the EU.

This will give much bet­ter tax­payer value for money than the cur­rent sit­u­a­tion where we give the EU £1,of which about half goes to other EU coun­tries, 10p is lost to bu­reau­cracy and 5p is lost in fraud leav­ing only 35p to spend.

QUES­TION 2 Cam­bus­lang Job­cen­tre has been ear­marked for clo­sure. If elected, what kind of rep­re­sen­ta­tion will you make dur­ing the con­sul­ta­tion process?

I would press for a con­tin­ued pres­ence of the job cen­tre and also the police sta­tion and banks and look at op­tions such as a multi-pur­pose ad­vice and rights cen­tre, or the coun­cil pro­vid­ing an em­ploy­ment ser­vice for the govern­ment.

Sta­tis­tics show that some ar­eas in Cam­bus­lang are the most deprived in the coun­try.

To help peo­ple get back in to work the job cen­tre must be kept open.

Be­ing lo­cal re­duces the cost of travel to the job cen­tre.

This is money that could be used trav­el­ling to a job in­ter­view.

Al­though the govern­ment has re­fused to hold a con­sul­ta­tion, I or­gan­ised a par­lia­men­tary pe­ti­tion – signed by hun­dreds of con­stituents - call­ing for one.

I’ve met with min­is­ters, and raised the is­sue in par­lia­ment many times.

Keep­ing Cam­bus­lang Job­cen­tre open is high on my pri­or­i­ties, and I’ll con­tinue to op­pose clo­sure.

The job cen­tre in Cam­bus­lang is a vi­tal ser­vice in the com­mu­nity.

Labour op­poses these clo­sures and re­alises their im­por­tance and if I am for­tu­nate enough to be elected your MP, I will use ev­ery op­por­tu­nity to make clear the im­por­tance of this ser­vice.

We must do ev­ery­thing we can to help peo­ple get the sup­port they need and that in­cludes pro­tect­ing life­line ser­vices like the Cam­bus­lang Job­cen­tre.

Ser­vices like this are mov­ing to­wards a more modern plat­form. I would want to rep­re­sent the peo­ple in the area but also make sure that the ser­vice was of­fer­ing the best so­lu­tion.

As the lo­cal MP I will lobby hard on be­half of your con­stituents to re­tain the job cen­tre.

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