As part of our 2017 General Election coverage, we have contacted each candidate standing in Northfield, Bromsgrove, Edgbaston and Selly Oak constituencies asking them to contribute to this election’s ’500 Words’ series.
Each candidate has been invited to describe themselves and their campaigns in their own words. Their submissions will be published without editing, in the order that they are received. Should they be longer than 500 words, they will be cropped.
Roger Harmer – Liberal Democrats – Northfield
My name is Roger Harmer. I am the Liberal Democrat General Election candidate for Birmingham Northfield. I have lived in Birmingham for the past 28 years, moving here for work and staying here ever since. I care passionately about making a difference for the lives of all those who live in our wonderful City and have been a City Councillor for a total of 13 years. I have worked in the private and voluntary sectors, most recently for two environmental charities based in the West Midlands.
Healthcare has rightly become a major issue in this election. I believe our NHS is by far best way to organise healthcare. It is a system based on social justice and is far less wasteful than private systems. But it needs funding properly to deliver the care we need. NHS staff have made heroic efforts to keep the system going as funding has got tighter but, put simply, we now need to pay more. Only the Liberal Democrats are brave enough to call for an extra penny on income tax to save the NHS.
An extra penny on income tax would raise £6bn a year more for the NHS. We believe £2bn should go into social care to cover the increasing costs of looking after the elderly, keeping them from needing hospital care as long as possible. And £1bn should go to mental health services, so long a shamefully neglected part of our care provision. Mental health problems should be treated with the same priority as physical health problems.
The Liberal Democrats are also arguing for an extra £7bn a year on education, funded by extra corporation tax. This would enable us to reverse the recent damaging cuts enforced on our schools by the Conservatives and save free lunches for 1 million school children.
We also argue in favour of keeping the triple lock on pensions to protect the incomes of the elderly. This has already raised pensioner incomes by £1,250 with more to come.
I believe more needs to be done to tackle homelessness and rough sleeping. The government needs to invest more in building homes, rather than relying on paying more and more housing benefit to keep people housed. Councils should have more freedom to borrow to build social housing and we should invest more in increasing the energy efficiency of our existing homes, to cut fuel bills and play our part in tackling climate change.
Faced by an increasingly worrying choice between more Conservative cuts or Labour’s unaffordable promises, the Liberal Democrats offer a caring and deliverable alternative. We will increase funding to core public services, such as the NHS and Education, while being upfront about how we will pay for the extra investment we propose. Please give me your support on June 8th
General Election 2017 Events & Hustings in South West Birmingham
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