Tonight, while the leaders of the opposition parties debated questions on the BBC, the Liberal Democrat candidate for Swindon was busy answering my questions. You can read more about why I’m asking these questions here .
Janet Ellard’s responses to my questions are presented, without comment, below
Question 1: Culture.
Swindon is in a prime location along the M4 corridor, with easy access to London, Reading, Bristol and Cardiff, and is surrounded by some beautiful countryside. This is often the only response I can give to associates who ask me about the benefits of living in Swindon – that it’s close to lots of nice places! What can you do to make Swindon itself a nicer place to visit, and what will you do to change the image of the town?
Swindon is the third-fastest growing town in England, where population is concerned, so Swindon must already doing something right, for so many people to want to live there! Regenerating Swindon, preserving its attractive corners and its historical buildings and promoting the image of the town is partly the responsibility of the Borough Council, but is also something the MP should be concerned with. The MP should be encouraging the Borough Council not to leave older, attractive buildings empty for any longer than is necessary and to approve their conversion to new and sometimes imaginative uses e.g. I was pleased to see the recent announcement that the former Technical College in Victoria Road is to be converted into flats. The local MP can promote Swindon by contacting the national media and making sure that they cover stories about the more attractive parts of Swindon, events in Swindon and the success stories of local businesses, as well as the local press. The MP can also promote contact between local small businesses and Westminster.
Question 2: Transport
The Swindon to London rail route is famous for being one of the most expensive £per mile rail journeys in the country – considering that this country is known to have one of the most expensive rail networks in Europe, that’s a pretty impressive penny. What will you do to ensure a fairer price for your constituents who work in – or wish to visit – the capital?
The price of railway tickets has increased dramatically over the last 5 years. The Liberal Democrats would only allow the price of train tickets, including season tickets, to go up in line with inflation over the next 5 years.
Question 3: Business
There are quite a lot of corporations with their headquarters in Swindon: Nationwide, Intel and WH Smith to name just three. Considering that Swindon has a much cheaper way of life, but is less than an hour from the capital. What can you do to encourage companies who are looking to cut down their operational costs to relocate from London to Swindon – in the process, opening up a much more attractive job market in the town for residents?
MPs can promote their constituency by holding exhibitions in London to promote the area and inviting major businesses along. They can also create news stories by visiting firms that are already based in Swindon, such as the ones you mention, and publicing their reasons for coming to Swindon and the advantages they have discovered in being based here.
What other priorities do you have for Swindon that you haven’t already mentioned? In short, why should the people of Swindon vote for you?
I won’t respond to this one, because this is a question I have already responded to several times. I would suggest that you should look at the coverage online and in print from the Swindon Advertiser and the interview that I gave to Swindon Viewpoint, which you can find online. You could also look at my website http://ldjanetellard.nationbuilder.com/ .
Read the other responses: