I WOULD like to thank the Observer for inviting me to write this column. Over the course of the last few years, I have met with thousands of local people, and I thank everyone for being so welcoming.
I have lived most of my life in Coventry and Warwickshire, studying at the University of Warwick, where I gained a PhD. I have four children and one grandchild, and I encourage you to learn more about me by calling my campaign headquarters on 07929660320, logging on my website — www.lynnettekelly.co.uk, or following me on twitter @lynnettekelly
I decided to stand as Labour’s Parliamentary Candidate in 2015 because this election is the most important in living memory.
The last few years have been tough for too many, with the economy struggling to grow and public services being cut back ruthlessly by the Conservative and Liberal Government in London, and the Conservative council in Warwick and Leamington. When I meet with local people, a large number tell me that they still feel ‘squeezed’ by the rising cost of living, from costs of housing, food prices, energy bills, and public transportation fares, at a time when wages and pensions haven’t kept pace.
This isn’t good enough, and the biggest reason I came into politics is to help generate prosperity and opportunity for all, rather than a privileged few.
To do this, we must build a stronger economy and, as a former Board Member of the Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), I have a track record of bringing jobs and investment into Warwick and Leamington. The LEP has recently secured a £74.1 million package to deliver projects that would support jobs and economic growth.
For instance, there will be new investment in apprenticeship training at Warwickshire College which will be of great benefit to young people in this area, and also to local firms seeking skilled employees. Moreover, money has been given for improvements to local roads which are long overdue. I’m delighted to have been part of the team that delivered this success, but I recognise that much more needs to be done in coming years.
Warwick and Leamington has some great companies, but we need to do more to help them grow, and also attract other firms to re-locate here. For instance, I have recently promoted a scheme in the local area that will allow more organisations to get superfast broadband internet access. Under this scheme, businesses are able to apply for grants to cover the costs of installing better broadband, allowing them to offer customers faster service.
Delivering opportunity and prosperity for more local people also means we need top-class public services. One of the reasons I declared my opposition to the Conservative Council’s Local Plan is that too much new housing development is being proposed in Warwick and Leamington, yet at the same time there is virtually no more provision planned for the NHS, schools and other key local services.
Take the NHS, for instance, where there is a big difference of opinion between me and the Conservative MP here in Warwick and Leamington. The local NHS is under pressure, even before planned new homes are built.
The latest official NHS survey shows that many local people waited seven days or longer to see a doctor the last time they tried. Moreover, over a third who have a preferred GP had to see another doctor when they last went to their local surgery.
This helps explain why there has been such a strain on A&E at Warwick Hospital during the winter. It is simply not good enough that patients are waiting days or even weeks for doctor appointments.
Rather than moving toward privatising the NHS under the Conservatives, I believe local health services in Warwick and Leamington need to remain in public hands but with more resources. That’s why I support Labour’s plan for a £2.5 billion ‘NHS Time to Care Fund’, paid for by millionaires, which will provide for new nurses and doctors locally.
The people of Warwick and Leamington deserve much better than the Conservative and Liberal Government in London, and the Conservative Council in Warwick and Leamington. The Conservatives and Liberals, including the current MP, have failed to stand up for local people who need someone who will fight on their behalf whatever their age, background or life experiences. I am ready to take this challenge and would be humbled if given the opportunity to serve as your MP.