Labour’s candidate in the forthcoming Wakefield by-election – Simon Lightwood – says the city made him the person he is today. In this sponsored article he sets out why he is standing, and his plan for Wakefield.
“After a difficult upbringing, I moved to Wakefield to study. I loved it and I stayed, met my partner and bought my first home here.
“I owe a lot to Wakefield. We have a lot to be proud of, a huge amount of potential and the best of Britain can be found here. But we have been let down by the Conservatives for too long.
“People are struggling in the cost of living crisis. We face more rises in our energy, fuel and food bills, and hardworking families are being forced to choose between heating and eating. People are worried about their health as GP appointments are harder to come by, about crime and anti-social behaviour in our communities, and our public transport being slashed.
“These issues need addressing urgently. I have a plan for Wakefield which will restore our communities, boost our local economy and get more money into the pockets of hardworking families.
“In this by-election the eyes of the country are on Wakefield, let’s show them how proud we are of our city, and the potential we have. I will be a champion for Wakefield and give our communities the fresh start they deserve.”
My plan for Wakefield:
Deliver investment and well-paid jobs for Wakefield
I will work with business and industry to attract inward investment and high paid, secure jobs for Wakefield.
We have a huge pool of talent and potential in Wakefield, but often people need to commute outside of the city for well-paid and high skilled jobs. I will work with business and industry to bring those jobs to Wakefield, to retain our talent and boost our local economy.
Bring back bus routes and cheaper fares
I will work with our Labour Mayor to cap bus fares at £2, pressure private bus firms to reinstate lost routes.
Under the Conservatives, dozens of bus routes have been slashed across Wakefield, and fares have risen twice as fast as wages. Now they’re taking the axe to rail services too. I will work to bring down bus fares by almost half, capping them at £2, and reinstate the routes lost under the Tories.
Fight to save King Street Walk-in Health CentreAs an NHS worker, I know the people of Wakefield want better health services and easier access to GP appointments. I will fight to keep the King Street Walk-in Centre open, and push the government to provide more resources.
Wakefield has 16 fewer GPs than a decade ago. The busiest surgeries have as many as 2,600 patients per GP in Wakefield. As an NHS worker, I know how important it is to you to be seen on time. I know local people value the King Street Walk-in Centre. I will campaign hard to keep this vital service going after the contract ends in September 2022.
More police to tackle anti-social behaviour
I will work with our Labour Mayor to put more neighbourhood police officers on the streets of our city, towns, and villages - to crack down on anti-social behaviour, tackle drug crime, and keep Wakefield safe.
The Tories slashed 20,000 police staff and crime has risen as a result. Wakefield deserves better. I will work with our Labour Mayor to bring new neighbourhood policing teams dedicated to Wakefield, to tackle crime, anti-social behaviour, and make our communities safer.
Scrap the unfair Tory National Insurance rise
Fight for action on the cost of living crisis by scrapping the unfair National Insurance rise.
The Conservatives have deprived Wakefield of a voice in parliament during a cost of living crisis. Labour has a fair and funded plan to cut household bills, including upgrades to more than 97,100 homes across Wakefield to make them more energy efficient, and scrapping the unfair National Insurance rise.