Questions for Parliamentary candidates 2015 - Part 2

With less than three weeks before the general election our second set of questions for candidates are:
1. [redundant question - withdrawn]


2. In retrospect, was it a bad idea to privatise the UK's railways, water, gas and electricity industries? Would you support moves to renationalise any of them?



3. If you were elected to Parliament, how often would you hold surgeries in Glossopdale?

(We asked these questions on 8th April 2015)

 


Andrew Bingham (Conservative)
2. In retrospect, was it a bad idea to privatise the UK's railways, water, gas and electricity industries? Would you support moves to renationalise any of them?
I do not agree that privatisation has been bad for consumers. The best way to help bring down the cost of energy bills is by providing the right framework for an open, competitive energy market to work. When the Conservative Government came to power in 2010, the Big Six energy companies had a retail market share of over 99 per cent. Ministers have worked hard to break the dominance of the Big Six and, as a result of the energy market reforms, there are now 21 independent domestic suppliers.  On the railways, passenger numbers and satisfaction scores are at a higher level now than when these were first collected in the late 1990s.  More can always be done, but I do not see a need to return to the days of the big state owned utilities.

3. If you were elected to Parliament, how often will you hold surgeries in Glossopdale?
During my time as Member of Parliament I held regular surgeries in Glossop and the surrounding areas. I would continue to do this if re-elected.


Caitlin Bisknell (Labour)
2. In retrospect, was it a bad idea to privatise the UK's railways, water, gas and electricity industries? Would you support moves to renationalise any of them?
Yes, it was a bad idea and one that I opposed at the time. I certainly support giving the public more say in the running of all the utilities – that does not necessarily mean renationalisation. For example charities, mutuals, co-operatives and social enterprises are all pioneering new models of ownership which Labour would support through the new British Investment Bank. A Labour government would also consider how to support employee buy-outs when businesses are being sold.
Railways: Labour will reform our transport system in order to provide more public control and put the public interest first. We will review the franchising process as a priority to put in place a new system and avoid a repeat of the Conservatives’ franchising fiasco. A new National Rail body will oversee and plan for the railways and give rail users a greater say in how trains operate. We will legislate so that a public sector operator is allowed to take on lines and challenge the private train operating companies on a level playing field.
Gas & electric: we need to break the stranglehold of the Big Six energy companies and make it easier for consumers to compare and to switch prices. We will also extend this to off-grid fuels such as oil and propane.
Water: work with the water companies to deliver a new deal where the consumer comes first and design a mandatory National Affordability Scheme to support vulnerable customers.

3. If you were elected to Parliament, how often will you hold surgeries in Glossopdale?
At least twice a month, and I am also considering having an office in the valley.


Charlotte Farrell (Green)
2. In retrospect, was it a bad idea to privatise the UK's railways, water, gas and electricity industries? Would you support moves to renationalise any of them?
Privatising the utilities and the railways was bad when it happened and bad in retrospect.  It has ended up with tax payers subsidising them to ensure that they remain profitable for business to manage and business siphoning off the profits. 
Privatisation is one of the reasons successive governments have been able to reduce taxes.   In effect though we are still paying for the services which the state once subsidised through taxation, but now any profit from running those services and which once would have gone back to the state now goes back to companies and its shareholders.  The alleged burden of “taxation” has not altered; all that has altered is who we pay it to.  People need electricity, water and gas, they have no option but to pay whatever the companies dare to charge.
Northern rail has one of the highest level of subsidy of any of the train operators (51.5 pence per passenger mile according to government figures).  In 2013 it made £592.5m in profit and paid its shareholders dividends of £34.2m.  It invested £3.1m on capital infrastructure.  And now they have increased their fares!!  The Green Party is the only party calling for the renationalisation of the railways.
Privatisation has been nothing but a transfer of public money to private interests.

3. If you were elected to Parliament, how often will you hold surgeries in Glossopdale?
As one of the main functions of an MP is to listen to their constituents concerns and represent them I would hold surgeries as regularly as possible, it would be good to know whether the present arrangement is sufficient or insufficient in order to assess how often to hold them.


Ian Guiver (UKIP)
2. In retrospect, was it a bad idea to privatise the UK's railways, water, gas and electricity industries? Would you support moves to renationalise any of them?
I think I used the opportunity of the platform last week  to say that I would support a reconsideration of railway privatisation. The one line that has effectively been owned by the state in recent years actually performed well. Currently we subsidise a not very good privately run railway network.

3. If you were elected to Parliament, how often will you hold surgeries in Glossopdale?
I think surgeries help the MO to understand the needs and concerns of residents as well as providing an opportunity to directly help people. I would hold surgeries as often as required to provide residents with reasonable face to face access with the MP and balance this against the needs of other constituents and the important duty of an MP to hold the government to account in the chamber of the House of Commons and through the Committee system. I would actually be led in this initially by the experience of past MPs who I am sure would help me to help residents by sharing their experiences.



Stephen Worrall (Liberal Democrats)
2. In retrospect, was it a bad idea to privatise the UK's railways, water, gas and electricity industries? Would you support moves to renationalise any of them?
Personally I believe it was definitely a bad idea to privatise the UK’s railways and water industries and I would support moves to renationalise both of them. There is no benefit to the user of either service being in private hands as the potential benefits of competition are not available due to there being only one available provider in almost all cases. If I want to get from Glossop to Manchester by train I can’t exactly choose to use a different train company! The issue of gas and electricity provision is a little more complicated I feel as there are potential benefits to consumers in terms of competition as you have a choice of provider. I’m not sure they should have been privatised in the first place but now that they are I’m not sure I would support renationalisation.

3. If you were elected to Parliament, how often will you hold surgeries in Glossopdale?
If elected to Parliament I would hold surgeries in Glossopdale to meet the demand. Initially I’d aim for one a month and then if this was not meeting demand I would increase frequency and if it was exceeding demand I’d decrease frequency.

 

Read earlier questions to 2015 Parliamentary candidates here:

http://glossopgazette.co.uk/2015-elections/1358-questions-for-parliamentary-candidates-2015-part-5

http://glossopgazette.co.uk/2015-elections/1336-questions-for-parliamentary-candidates-4

http://glossopgazette.co.uk/2015-elections/1325-questions-for-parliamentary-candidates-part-3

http://glossopgazette.co.uk/2015-elections/1312-questions-for-parliamentary-candidates-2015-2

http://glossopgazette.co.uk/2015-elections/1281-questions-for-parliamentary-candidates-2015-part-1

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