This week we’re asking the six general election candidates for the Altrincham & Sale West constituency for their views on certain key issues.
Last week we asked our Facebook community for the questions they’d ask the candidates: Sir Graham Brady (Conservative), Geraldine Coggins (Green), Angela Smith (Liberal Democrat), Andrew Western (Labour), Neil Taylor (Liberal Party) and Iram Kiani (Independent).
We’ve selected a shortlist using a mix of questions that were upvoted by the community and questions that ensure the candidates cover as broad an array of topics as possible.
Each candidate has then had a few days to come up with their answers to the same set of questions.
Today it’s the turn of Liberal Party candidate, Neil Taylor.
DAN McMULLAN: What are the candidates’ views on assisted dying for the terminally ill – this is a topic which I’ve not heard any party talk about but is a matter a significant number of people believe needs looking at again.
NEIL TAYLOR: I fully support dignity in dying/assisted dying for the terminally ill. I know that this is a touchy subject for some, but we should be able to talk about it openly.
VITTORIA ELISA: Will you protect Green Belt land in the area?
NEIL TAYLOR: I have been a lead campaigner to save the Timperley Wedge and also support Carrington Moss. Our Green Belt must be protected. Other parties claim to want to save the Green Belt, but they are supporting HS2 and the destruction to ancient woodland and green space. HS2 is going to have a massive impact at Davenport Green as it merges with the Timperley Wedge.
NICK ROBINSON: What, in your view, are the causes of us needing to have five food banks in one of the richest constituencies in one of the richest countries in the world?
NEIL TAYLOR: We should not have the need for food banks in 2019. The austerity cuts that have taken place since the Conservative/Lib Dem coalition have hurt the not so well off. People are still suffering the payment for the bedroom tax.
The new payment methods for those that need to claim benefit have gone badly wrong. This really needs to be looked at and put right.
JAMIE BUCKTON: With the large increase in crime around the constituency over the last couple of years, what are your plans to tackle it?
NEIL TAYLOR: The police cuts since the coalition years (Lib Dem/Conservatives) have been savage, and we need to get more police back on the streets. Funding for this can come from scrapping HS2. I was invited on a ride out with the local police, and seeing first-hand how over stretched they are was shocking.
SARAH SCOTT: Given Altrincham and Sale West is a Remain voting area, how will you represent your constituents on the Brexit issue?
NEIL TAYLOR: I voted and campaigned to remain and was bitterly disappointed with the result. However, I respect democracy and I accept the referendum result. From those that voted (nationally) more than 50% voted to leave and we must respect this. I do not support a second referendum, it will only lead to another divide. This is not a game of three and you’re in.
The Lib Dem suggestion to revoke article 50 is pretty outrageous. The whole country needs to move on and to heal with all the riffs that have taken place.
KATIE SALINGER: I’ve seen manifestos from the parties with details of what each party will deliver. A lot of those promises are longer term, and outside of the immediate 5 year fixed term. What promises are you making for the immediate 12 months after your election in our constituency?
NEIL TAYLOR: As a small party we are not making any promises that cannot be kept – our manifesto can be found at liberal.org.uk.
If elected I promise to scrutinise promises that are being made right now in the election period.
MICHAEL BATTMAN: What are the candidates’ views on state-funded religious schools?
NEIL TAYLOR: As long as the schools are abiding by the law with what they are teaching I do not have a problem.
ALISON O’CONNELL: What’s your stance on WASPI women – will you be supporting an initiative to make up the £40,000 in lost pension we have lost?
NEIL TAYLOR: The WASPI women have my full support and backing. It is outrageous the whole way that this has been handled. Some form of compensation needs to be paid back and paid back now.
DANIELLE MOLYNEUX: How are you going to address the climate crisis?
NEIL TAYLOR: The challenges we are faced with regarding the climate crisis need to be acted upon in a sensible way that we can all take part in.
Plastics and other materials that cannot be recycled should be banned. All local authorities need to be joined up with what they can recycle – here in Trafford we cannot recycle nappies or yogurt pots, but in other area they can be recycled.
Our Green Belt/green space are the lungs of the earth and must be protected, Carrington Moss is a natural carbon sink and it is vital to preserve.
EMMA STANTON: What are you going to do about the fact that there is now a generation of young people who were born and raised around Trafford who can now not afford to live in their hometown because house prices / rent are completely unattainable in this area?
NEIL TAYLOR: I have been going on about affordable homes for many years, and I have children myself that are going to struggle to get a home.
If a young couple are working full time on the national minimum wage, this is where the cost of an affordable home should come from – £130k as a start.
It is the property investors that are pushing up the prices of homes, along with the catchment areas of local schools.
PAUL McCARTHY: Will you support the saving of Stamford Park Infant and Junior Schools from demolition, in favour of architectural remodelling on the same site?
NEIL TAYLOR: I went to school at Bradbury, which has now been demolished. It was across the road from Stamford Park and was built in the same style. The schools as they are, are in dire need of modernisation, but this needs to be done in a sympathetic way to retain some of the original features and architecture.
ANNA WHITE: What youth services are you going to provide within the borough to help reduce knife and other crime? (Anne White)
NEIL TAYLOR: The budgets for youth services have been slashed year on year, and I welcome the new increase in funds from the new administration. Youth provisions are important to tackle some of the anti-social behaviour that we see. Money also needs to go into eduction re the likes of knife crime.
ROSA CROSBIE: How do you propose to tackle the problem of groups of young people committing anti-social behavior and assaulting and intimidating both youngsters and adults?
NEIL TAYLOR: As said in a previous question the cuts to the police service since 2010 need to be addressed and we need to go back to police numbers that we had in 2010. I have a massive respect for the police and what they have to deal with, with very limited resources. Education of our young people to have respect is vital.
MARK GORMAN: What’s your favourite cheese?
NEIL TAYLOR: My hand is up, I am a sucker for cheese, full stop. I enjoy pretty much any cheese, but recent favourite is crumbly Lancashire. But a nice strong smelly one, with crackers and a decent pint will do for me.