Election 2015 England

Election 2015: Devon dairy workers share their views

With the general election campaign in full swing, politicians of all persuasions are travelling to towns and cities across England, hoping to boost their chances at the ballot box.

While they do that, BBC News is visiting offices, factories and other workplaces to gauge the mood of those who matter most - the voters.

In the rolling Devon countryside, just outside Plymouth, is Langage Farm Dairy, which has been supplying the region with ice cream, clotted cream and other sweet treats for more than 30 years.

The company employs about 50 people, whose political opinions are just as varied as the ice cream flavours they help to create.

Image caption Langage Farm Dairy's ice cream is sold throughout Devon and Cornwall
Image caption Apprentice Thomas Box thinks benefits are given out too easily

Thomas Box, 20, is an apprentice at the dairy and as a first time voter he plans to thoroughly research the party manifestos.

"I think a party which wants more apprenticeship schemes would get my support," he said.

"I think benefits are given out too easily and the system needs to be rethought, maybe by offering food vouchers rather than money."

Image caption Cleaner Joanne Casey doesn't think she will vote on May 7

Cleaner Joanne Casey, 48, has always been a Labour supporter but doesn't think she will vote this time because she feels let down by politicians.

"There are far too many immigrants being let into the country and people on benefits are having a better life than working class people, like me," she said.

Image caption Langage Farm Dairy has been selling clotted cream since 1980
Image caption Father-to-be Paul Holden is concerned about tax changes

Operations manager, Paul Holden, 37, is about to become a father and is concerned about the lack of support for first-time parents.

"We're going to lose around a thousand pounds when my wife goes on maternity leave which will be a struggle and I'm not entitled to any benefits."

Mr Holden has worked his way up in the company and the threshold for paying the higher rate of tax will have a big influence on his vote.

"Both main parties are looking at raising the tax bracket, the higher the 40p rate is lifted the better it'll be for my career in the future."

Image caption Mark Williams is concerned about house prices for his children

Former submariner, Mark Williams, 50, is a maintenance engineer and hasn't decided who he will vote for but says national defence is a key issue.

"I think it's worth keeping hold of Trident, especially with how volatile other countries are," he said. He said he feared Labour were not planning to keep Trident, though leader Ed Miliband has pledged to renew it.

His children are at university and he says he will give thought to their future at the ballot box.

"Homes will be an issue for them. What I've seen being built looks like rabbit hutches and they are not cheap."

Image caption Langage Farm Dairy employs about 50 people
Image caption Rebecca Germain thinks student fees should be lowered

Just a few miles away from the dairy in Plympton is the company shop, where customers are clamouring for ice creams in the hot weather.

Rebecca Germain, 19, is studying forensic science in Bristol but is home for the Easter holidays, working as a sales assistant.

After university she plans to return to Devon but is worried she will not be able to unless the next government overhauls tuition fees.

"I've got another four, maybe five, years before I get a job and going straight from education to employment with £50,000 of debt is concerning".

She works alongside supervisor, Elizabeth Grix, 47, who believes the next government needs to raise the minimum wage.

Image caption Elizabeth Grix wants the minimum wage raised

"The hourly rate is quite poor for the workload people do, especially for youngsters like Rebecca".

Ms Grix says she is leaning towards voting Conservative because she believes it will provide a more stable economy.

"I've worked all my life since the age of 16, but now my age and my lack of qualifications goes against me.

"Job security is a big issue as you never know what's around the corner these days."

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