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Summary

  1. Updates on Tuesday, 30 May 2017
  2. MP hopefuls for South Northants debate issues ahead of the general election
  3. The candidates taking part are:
  4. Denise Donaldson (Green)
  5. Sophie Johnson (Labour)
  6. Andrea Leadsom (Conservative)
  7. Chris Lofts (Liberal Democrat)
  8. Joshua Phillips (Independent)
  9. Nigel Wickens (UKIP)

Live Reporting

All times stated are UK

Get involved

That's it for our coverage of the South Northamptonshire general election debate

That's it for our coverage of the South Northamptonshire constituency debate. Thanks for joining us.

You've been reading the views of all five candidates standing in the general election on Thursday, 8 June.

Follow what else happens in the constituency on the BBC's general election pages.

Already today we have brought you coverage of the Kettering constituency debate, and the Daventry constituency debate, too.

From 08:00 on Wednesday, we'll bring you the Wellingborough debate, live from Rush 2 The Den - a youth club and children's centre in Rushden.

All candidates: What time do you wake up?

To conclude the debate, the South Northamptonshire candidates fielded a question from Honor, who is eight years old and a student at Little Harrowden Primary School.

She asked: "What time do you wake up?"

South Northamptonshire candidates
BBC

Chris Lofts (Liberal Democrats) says: "It tends to vary during the year; I sleep with the window open and have a lot of bird feeders in the garden, so, come the summer, I'm awoken by the dawn chorus, which around now is about 04:30."

Denise Donaldson (Green Party): "I generally wake up around 06:30 as I work as a nurse in general practice."

Nigel Wickens (UKIP): "Between 06:00 and 08:00 depending what time I have to be at work."

Sophie Johnson (Labour): "I have two children to get ready for school, so I'm an early riser these days."

Joshua Phillips (Independent): "It varies between 06:00 and 09:00."

Andrea Leadsom (Conservatives): "06:45 to get my daughter up for school and then a big lie-in with the newspapers."

Conservative: Transport

Andrea Leadsom (Conservative) says: "As Chris Lofts [Lib Dem candidate] said, I voted against it [HS2] at the paving bill, one of only a handful of MPs who did.

"Since it has been government policy to continue with it, I have set up a group in parliament that has been working very hard to maximise the compensation and organise mitigation for those who have been impacted by it.

"Of course here in South Northants, I set up a liaison group that meets every other month to talk about the specific issues.

"So, actually trying to minimise the damage and - now we're going into the construction phase - helping individual families with their cases has been the priority.

"I must say it has been between 20-40% of my time here as an MP since 2010 when I was elected.

"As far as the strategic rail freight interchange goes, there are two proposals out there and I know people are very concerned about these.

"Whilst, yes, getting lorries off the roads and freight onto trains is a good thing in a big picture sense, nevertheless in South Northants, we don't have much unemployment, we do have very congested roads...and what we don't want is new projects that actually worsen those situations."

Independent: Candidate 'all for' HS2

Joshua Phillips (Independent) said: "I am all for HS2 if it is value for money.

"In that respect, the government's report indicated that they may resort to private financing initiatives to at least partly fund some of the £40bn plus.

"As usual private finance initiatives are usually quite poor value for money and so I'd be very concerned about making sure that the costs are as low as possible and that the most value to society is obtained from it.

"Other than that, I'm all for it."

Labour: HS2 can help re-distribute wealth outside London

Sophie Johnson (Labour) said: "The party's position is that HS2 is going ahead and I can understand the national vision on that because historically London has always been the place where everyone has to go for their jobs.

"If we can connect up the country better and have faster links between cities then that means that the wealth doesn't have to stay in London and can be more evenly distributed across the country.

"Having said all of that, my daughter goes to school in Culworth, and I know exactly what is going to happen in this part of the country with HS2 and it is heartbreaking because I know that parts of the beautiful countryside and buildings are going to have to be taken down to put it in place.

"But my main concern going forward would be looking after the people affected by this.

"I know compensation is in place, but it's also about reducing the air and noise pollution and the traffic to and from the site as the building is taking place and we really have to be very sensitive about the local community as it goes forward."

UKIP: HS2 'not the answer'

Nigel Wickens (UKIP) said: "We need an effective rail service, but HS2 is not the answer.

"The only reason it is on the table is because in 1992 Jacques Delors [then president of the European Commission] decreed that there should be high speed rail between the cities of Europe - there has never been a UK economic need.

"The first argument for it was to speed up the journey, as Denise has said, and there really isn't a need.

"The second was to transfer business out of London and of course it has the opposite effect. If you see the number of first class carriages on the West Coast Mainline all day, clearly there is plenty of capacity.

"We need to improve the road network and deal with potholes.

"We do need more rail, but we need more rail cross-country in the north, we do not need more rail in and out of London."

Green Party: Transport

Denise Donaldson (Green Party) says: "Our roads are overcrowded. We would like freight taken onto the rails if possible and locally we have the proposed rail freight developments between Milton Malsor and Blisworth which can again just give a lot of extra traffic on the M1 junctions at 15 and 15a and the A43, too.

On HS2, she adds: "We do support the principal of high speed rail, but not HS2 in general.

"For instance between London and Birmingham [it] will only shave 20 minutes off the journey time - is that worth it for the expense of £75bn estimated cost?"

HS2
BBC
HS2 proposed routes

Lib Dem: Transport and HS2 likely to be reviewed

The second topic put to the South Northamptonshire candidates was transport - be it the state of the roads, the amount of congestion on commutes or where to spend money on big infrastructure projects, such as HS2, which will cut through this part of Northamptonshire when complete.

South Northamptonshire candidates
BBC

On the London-Birmingham HS2 high speed railway line, Chris Lofts (Liberal Democrat) says: "It is something that has been rumbling on for ages. South Northamptonshire council invested quite considerable time and expertise in trying to argue against it.

"Andrea Leadsom, sitting MP, also mounted a high profile campaign trying to stop HS2 - unfortunately the government listened to neither.

"What we're left with is trying to get the most compensation, mitigation, for the people that it is really going to effect in the west of the constituency.

"As we move into a hard Brexit, some of these large-scale infrastructure projects will actually come under review because I think the country just won't be able to afford them."

Independent: Social care problems mean tax avoidance needs tackling

Joshua Phillips (Independent) says: "I have a blank sheet of paper with specific budgets. My message is that when we are trying to solve issues like social care, we have to remember that the government have a finite budget and they have many needs that they need to meet.

"When facing this, we have many issues - trying to increase the budget to respond to social care and other issues - and we need to spend money efficiently and also try and make sure that the budget is as big as possible.

"That means tackling tax avoidance, it means investing efficiently to increase skills and all these things come back to the government in terms of higher budget."

Green Party: Social care requires inheritance tax reform

Denise Donaldson (Green Party): "An integrated health and social care is quite vital.

"We would fund it by investing £7.5bn a year to give universal free social care.

"This could be funded by a combination of changes to pension tax relief (£7bn a year) and reforms to inheritance tax (£1bn a year).

"Our long-term goal would be an economy for everyone with universal basic income, if everyone had that then maybe we wouldn't be in the mess that we are in.

"Other concerns are cuts from the current administration of £4.6bn from the social care fund.

"If those hadn't happened in the first place then we may not be in the situation we are."

UKIP: 'Scrap high speed rail line to fund social care'

Nigel Wickens (UKIP): "We would scrap HS2, that is at least £60-80bn saved (to aid UKIP's plans to invest an extra £11bn a year into the NHS and social care).

"We would also withdraw the overseas aid budget, and that is around £12bn a year - not necessarily all for adult social care because of the NHS and other causes as well, but [it's] lots of money to recover the £4.6bn cut to adult social care since 2010.

Posed the interpretation that withdrawing overseas aid is swapping suffering in this country with suffering abroad, Wickens adds: "No, because there is a difference giving money abroad and supporting need abroad.

"We would pay British companies and charities to provide the aid overseas, not simply give money overseas."

Lib Dems: Social care funded by 'honest' income tax increase

Chris Lofts (Liberal Democrats) says: "The Liberal Democrat plan [to introduce a 1p in the pound increase on income tax to raise £6bn for NHS and social care services] is an honest one. I've worked in local government for 30 years, I've been a local councillor for 10 years and I know the pressures that the local community are facing on the provision of supporting care for a great range of people.

"Social care is a complex issue because it sits at the interface between the health service and social care at local authorities - both of which have seen significant cuts by the Conservative government over the past years.

"It's not good enough to just say that we will just focus on one element.

"That's why the Liberal Democrats have been open about saying everyone needs to contribute in a small way to this, that's why we are proposing a 1% increase on income tax.

"What people on the doorsteps are telling us is that we are honest, that we recognise there has been a funding cut and your plan is something we can all buy into.

"It's a bit like an insurance policy, we hope we won't have to call on it, but because everybody is contributing towards it - if we are unlucky that we do have to use it - that money is there."

Labour: Social care plan will affect 'highest earners'

Labour's plan is to provide £8bn extra for social care and establish a new National Care Service for England.

Asked how the party proposes to fund its plans, Sophie Johnson (Labour) said: "Andrea was saying it is going to effect the young people, it's not.

"It will affect the highest earners, those earning over £80,000.

"That will raise enough money to help older people.

"If people get cancer in older age they get free care on the NHS currently; so people who can't care for themselves because they have dementia...why should they have to pay for themselves?"

Conservatives: Social care 'ticking time bomb'

Sunday's debate took place at the Brackley Fields Care Home, so what better place to discuss the subject of social care?

Indeed, both Northampton and Kettering general hospitals have some of the worst records in the country of so-called "bed-blocking" - where people are stuck in hospital longer than they need to be because there would be no care support in place for them if they were discharged.

South Northamptonshire debate
BBC

The Conservative Party initially announced it would scrap a planned £72,000 cap on care costs, which had been due in 2020.

But they now say they will introduce a cap, with people with assets of more than £100,000 paying for their care, though they could defer payment until after their death.

Addressing the subject first, Andrea Leadsom (Conservative) said: "The good news is that the reason social care is such a problem is because we are all living so much longer which of course is a fantastic thing.

"But what it does mean is that many more people do need help as they reach their older age, with personal care and also residential care. There will be a third more over 85s by 2024, so the problem is an enormous one that we need to tackle.

Andrea Leadsom
BBC
Andrea Leadsom

"So what the Conservatives are saying is that people do not need to use their assets during their lifetime, but people must contribute to the cost of their own care; which of course they do now if they are in residential care up to their last £23,000.

"As we move forward we need a realistic proposal to address this ticking time bomb, which is to lift that cap to £100,000, and that people should use their own assets to fund their social care or residential care.

"We will consult on a maximum that anyone should be forced to contribute.

"The alternative is we put up taxes on young people who are already struggling.

"This is a realistic solution that is fair between the generations and that actually tackles this problem that simply isn't going to go away."

Meet the candidates

These are the candidates:

Denise Donaldson (Green):

Denise Donaldson
BBC

Sophie Johnson (Labour):

Sophie Johnson
BBC

Andrea Leadsom (Conservative):

Andrea Leadsom
BBC

Chris Lofts (Liberal Democrat):

Chris Lofts
BBC

Joshua Phillips (Independent):

Joshua Phillips
BBC

Nigel Wickens (UKIP):

Nigel Wickens
BBC

'A constituency of contrast'

Sam Read

BBC Radio Northampton politics reporter

People who live in the north of this constituency have very different lives to people in the south of the patch.

Areas in the north are effectively part of Northampton – and lives will look towards the county town.

But when you reach Brackley and some of the rural villages in the south there are people who will never go to Northampton.

Its picturesque countryside is due to see the arrival of HS2 (London to Birmingham and the north high speed railway line) – and that has been one of the issues here.

Its MP since the consituency was formed in 2010 has been the Conservative environment minister – and prime ministerial candidate just last year – Andrea Leadsom.

With a majority of more than 26,000 the other parties have a battle on their hands…

2015 general election results from the BBC's general election pages:

  • Andrea Leadsom (Con) 36,607 (+4.9% on 2010)
  • Lucy Mills (Lab) 10,191 (-0.6%)
  • Roger Clark (UKIP) 8,204 (+9.5%)
  • Tom Snowdon (Lib Dem) 3,613 (-15.1%)
  • Damon Boughen (Green) 2,247 (+2.5%)

Welcome to the South Northants general election debate

Hello and thank you for joining us for highlights of the third BBC Radio Northampton general election debate, which aired on Sunday morning in Martin Heath's breakfast show, which you can listen to on the BBC iPlayer.

We've been travelling across Northamptonshire to meet the people who want to become one of the county's seven MPs on 8 June.

On this page, we'll be hearing from candidates in the South Northamptonshire constituency.