Labour North Shropshire by-election candidate on second jobs and key priorities

Ahead of the North Shropshire by-election on December 16, the Shropshire Star has approached all candidates with a series of questions.

Labour candidate for the North Shropshire by-election Ben Wood
Labour candidate for the North Shropshire by-election Ben Wood

We have asked the candidates the same set of questions on topics including second jobs, priorities and national issues.

This time, it is the turn of Labour candidate Ben ood to answer the questions and tell you what his plans are for North Shropshire.

Will you take any second jobs if you are elected as MP for North Shropshire, and do you believe MPs should be prevented from taking second jobs/consultancy roles?

No – I will never take a second job. Being Oswestry born-and-bred, I want to work for North Shropshire, not for myself.

This is a basic principle which is the absolute least which people should expect from their elected Members of Parliament, and I firmly believe that as a general rule, second jobs should be banned for MPs.

We need to go further though, and fix our politics, from the local level in Shropshire and right up to the top.

We all remember Shropshire Council’s decision to resurface the country track leading to the home of a senior Conservative councillor, and we have all heard of the Conservative MP using a taxpayer-funded office in Parliament to work for a tax haven.

Politicians need to work for their constituents, and never for themselves – this is taxpayer's money that they are wasting.

What is the biggest national issue you see affecting the constituency in the coming years?

Social care. The Prime Minister promised that no one will be forced to sell their home to pay for social care, but in North Shropshire this promise will now be broken.

In towns like Ellesmere, Wem and Market Drayton, there aren’t many pensioners who have £172,000 at hand to pay for the government’s residential home fees, which means these new rules have been drawn up by people with well-paid second jobs who have no idea about the lives of people in towns and villages in North Shropshire.

Once again, the government have failed to stand up for elderly people and their families; the plans do nothing to ensure more people get the care they need or improve services.

What would you like to achieve in your tenure as MP for North Shropshire?

My first priority is our ambulance services.

On day one, I will demand the immediate reopening of ambulance stations in Oswestry, Market Drayton and Whitchurch.

During this campaign I have lost count of the number of horror stories I have heard from local people who have waited hours-on-end for ambulances.

These heart-breaking stories are just the tip of the iceberg.

As we enter winter I fear lives will be lost because of the negligence.

As a local Member of Parliament, standing up for the area I’m from, I will fight for our public services, but I also want to put forward a fresh and exciting new plan for our towns and villages.

That means bringing new railway station, dualling the A5, reopening leisure facilities such as swimming pools, and fighting to bring good quality and high-skilled jobs to our towns.

What do you see as the strengths of the constituency?

I am proud of North Shropshire and I know that our towns and villages have a bright and exciting future ahead of them.

Our market towns in particular have incredible history and people, and their location should present far greater opportunities than elected politicians currently promote.

We need stronger public services to match these ambitions, but we also need better infrastructure to bring greater prosperity to our towns and villages.

We need a local MP that will get on and deliver for North Shropshire – that means building new railway links, improving local roads, and supporting our high-streets by scrapping business rates.

I want to stand up North Shropshire and put our area on the map, bring fresh and exciting opportunities to the area, attract new jobs, and invest in the future.

What are the biggest problems facing the constituency and what would you say needs to be done to address them?

Our towns and villages are growing, but our local services are shrinking.

In the past few years, we have lost police stations, ambulances, maternity units, fire stations, and even high-street banks – all the while, from Oswestry to Market Drayton, our towns are expanding and new housing is popping up throughout the county.

Our schools are struggling too, and across North Shropshire, the government currently spends £500 less per pupil than the average in England.

In the past year, schools like Thomas Adams’ and Sir John’s Talbot have had their budgets cut even further.

We need to turn the tide, and elect a local Member of Parliament who will stand up for our area – but we also need to cut down on waste, and bring back a sense of value for money.

Why do you want to be MP for North Shropshire?

For me, this is personal. I went to Woodside Primary School, Marches Secondary School and started working life at Colour Supplies.

I am proud to be Oswestry born-and-bred, and I am sick-to-death that no one has been fighting our corner.

I want to stand up North Shropshire and work for our area, never for myself.

I want to bring fresh and exciting new opportunities to our towns and villages, bring new good-quality jobs to the area, invest in our high-streets and call for new rail and roads.

This election is about the future we want for Oswestry, Ellesmere, Wem, Market Drayton, Whitchurch and everywhere in between – let’s use this election as a turning point, where the people of these towns and villages made themselves heard and sent one of their own to Westminster.

Most Read

Most Read

Sorry, we are not accepting comments on this article.

Top Stories

More from the Shropshire Star

UK & International News