The Diss Express has offered each prospective parliamentary candidate (PPC) in South Norfolk 200 words to tell our readers what they would do for their constituencies should they be successful after votes are counted on Thursday, May 7.
This time around, five candidates are contesting the seat, one less than in the 2010 general election, with three running in the constituency for the first time.
Conservative PPC Richard Bacon hopes to retain the seat for the fourth consecutive term, having previously won by comfortable margins in 2001, 2005 and 2010.
He faces competition from Liberal Democrat candidate Jacky Howe, who placed second in the votes at the last election.
The others running for the seat are Labour’s Deborah Sacks, a chartered surveyor and planning consultant, UKIP’s Barry Cameron, a school governor and self-employed businessman, and Catherine Rowett, a professor of philosophy representing the Green Party.
Richard Bacon - Conservative Party MP
We have made good progress in clearing up the mess that we inherited. The economy is getting stronger, with more new jobs. This means we can pay for the NHS, and for better roads and rail services.
I was one of the Norfolk MPs in the last Parliament who successfully put pressure on transport ministers to ensure the A11 was finally dualled. If am re-elected, I will keep up the pressure to get the A140 dualled too.
I will continue my campaign for South Norfolk to get much faster broadband. This is now essential for local businesses and residents.
Too many young people are still living with their parents because they cannot afford a place of their own. We have to make it easier for young people to find a place to live. My Private Members’ Bill, the new Self Build and Custom Housebuilding Act, will help with this.
I have served local communities across South Norfolk in many different ways, from securing funding for local projects and honouring veterans to campaigning for better maternity services and improved protection against flooding, helping out at schools affected by strike action and celebrating the opening of new post offices.
I am asking for your vote so that I can continue this work.
Catherine Rowett - Green Party MP
I’ve been working at the University of East Anglia since 2003, and I currently live in Eaton, just on the edge of Norwich.
I’m standing for the Green Party because I’m horrified by the way the coalition government has been destroying all the fine things that make the UK a civilised, supportive, generous and welcoming country of which one can be proud.
There is increasing inequality and unhappiness, both of which are the consequences of ideologies of self-interest and marketisation.
The Green Party is the only one with a realistic grasp of what are the most serious threats to our country, and realistic solutions that are not just fanciful or rhetorical.
My priorities for the General Election are:
l “No” to tax evasion; “no” to austerity and privatisation.
l “No” to the dangerous TTIP trade agreement.
l Energy policy: “no” to fracking.
l Returning the NHS and railways to safe public hands, with ample funding.
In South Norfolk many local problems stem from policies decided at Westminster, which undermine local budgets, corrupt the planning system, transfer public assets to private companies, and drain taxpayers’ money into the pockets of profiteers. I will vote for better public transport, lower rail fares, affordable housing, and care for the elderly.
Deborah Sacks - Labour Party MP
I believe in a fairer South Norfolk where everyone has access to work and education as they need it, as well as community and health facilities and the beauty and biodiversity of our countryside.
I will work with national and local government and transport providers to improve the reliability and reach of all our public transport services as well as creating facilities for walking and cycling.
I would work to ensure the delivery of properly planned and sustainable housing that people can afford within their communities.
I believe in a strong rural economy that provides real jobs with proper pay. Government’s role is to provide the infrastructure necessary for business to thrive.
As an active MP, I would deliver decent mobile phone access and broadband connections and support investment in a healthy and well educated workforce through our public providers.
Our NHS, schools and police and emergency services should be properly funded for the benefit of us all.
Jacky Howe - Liberal Democrats MP
My reasons for standing again in South Norfolk are many! At the count in 2010, conceding defeat, I said “I will be back” well, here I am.
South Norfolk is a great place to live, if you are wealthy, well, employed and own your own car and home. If not, you may well suffer from the hidden deprivation common to many rural communities.
You may have to travel quite a distance to work (or even for interviews) and buses are not frequent. You may have to choose between food and fuel in the winter. You may have to continue to live with your parents because you can’t afford your own home.
During the 2010 campaign, I got to know the constituency well and saw that my experience was well suited to local people’s needs.
I was development director of three national housing associations and was founding Chair of Victory Housing Trust.
I have been both a district and county councillor, being responsible for planning, health and social services and the letting of bus contracts. On the judicial review panel, I heard of people’s difficulties with benefits.
I will bring this lifetime of experience to serve the people of South Norfolk if elected.
Barry Cameron - UKIP MP
My aim is to ensure that our way of life in South Norfolk is protected and largely unchanged except for genuine and thoughtful improvements in keeping with the character and traditions of the area.
If elected as your MP, I would work to bring investment to South Norfolk to ensure first that our roads are improved. We need bypasses especially in Long Stratton where the congestion problem is unacceptable.
This bypass however should not be connected to further development since most residents are opposed to 1,800 houses being built, the equivalent of another six Churchfields estates.
The traffic from this would quickly outweigh the benefits of the bypass. Houses are needed for our local young people but these need to be affordable and they should be built on brownfield sites not on our green fields.
I would work for central government funding to get more dualling of our vital road links such as the A140 not only to ease congestion but to promote business and help our local traders.
UKIP’s costed national policies of deficit reduction and our belief in a low tax economy will encourage investment and growth locally. We don’t need vanity projects like HS2 in South Norfolk.
We do need Norwich to London in 90 minutes!