WITH just one week to go until Bury goes to the polls a tight contest is developing for the borough's two constituencies.

This week the Bury Times spoke with each of the Bury South Parliamentary candidates to find out why they think they should get your vote.

Lucy Burke — Labour Party

Prestwich and Whitefield Guide:

LUCY Burke is the local Labour party secretary and works in higher education.

She says she is standing for election to see “a fairer and more decent society in which everyone has choices and opportunities and a decent standard of living and no-one struggles to put food on the table”.

Dr Burke argued that Labour is the only party which can stop the Conservatives and end child poverty, social isolation, homelessness and the mental health crisis.

If elected she has promised to fight for “properly funded” public services in Bury, and says Labour will make record investment in the NHS, create a lifelong National Education Service, and build zero-carbon social and affordable housing on brownfield sites to support tenants and first-time buyers.

Her other priorities include a new high school and “Youth Zone” for young people in Radcliffe, and pledged to secure more community police officers and support staff to make communities “feel safe again”.

While Labour is the only party that is offering large-scale investment, green jobs and decarbonisation by 2030, Dr Burke said.

On Brexit Dr Burke says Labour will give people a “final say” and negotiate a deal protect jobs, workers’ rights and our environment alongside an option to remain. 

Christian Wakeford — Conservative Party

Prestwich and Whitefield Guide:

CHRISTIAN Wakeford is the leader of the Conservative Group on Pendle Borough Council and a former Lancashire County councillor with a background in the communication and insurance sectors.

He says he and his party offer “positive but credible change” for Bury South and are the only ones who can deliver a “credible” Brexit.

The legislative process to leave the EU would start from day one of new Conservative Government, Mr Wakeford said, adding that the UK should grasp opportunities presented by Brexit such as buying local/British. 

He similarly argued that only the Conservatives can deliver a free school for Radcliffe which is one of big policy priorities, as is regeneration of town highstreets, putting more police on the streets and devolution of decision making to town and parish councils and business improvement districts.

Mr Wakeford further outlined healthcare as a priority and stuck by the claim that the Conservatives will invest £650 million a week into the NHS.

On housing he pledged to protect the greenbelt and create a brownfield register and development fund to build on these sites first. These homes, he says, would be “genuinely affordable and accessible” with transport links “where people want it rather than to improve developers profit margins”.

Mr Wakeford added that he is committed to seeing the UK become carbon neutral by 2050 and wants to see investment to make sure transport infrastructure is “fit for purpose”.

Richard Kilpatrick — Liberal Democrats

Prestwich and Whitefield Guide:

RICHARD Kilpatrick is deputy leader of the Manchester Lib Dems and a Manchester City councillor.

He says he represents a positive pro-European choice meaning voters do not have to vote for “the least of two evils”.

On Brexit he believes the UK’s future lies within the EU and says he is willing to stop Brexit in any way possible.

If the Lib Dems form the next Government he says they will revoke Article 50, alternatively if they are in opposition they favour a “final say” referendum.

However he claims Brexit will hit Bury hard — leaving the borough short of doctors, nurses, teachers and workers in the digital sector.

His policy priority is securing a new school for Radcliffe. He also pledges to institute two extra police officers in every community area to tackle crime rates and says the Lib Dems would make “slight” tax increase for a £7 billion investment in the NHS 

On housing and regeneration Mr Kilpatrick would scrap the GMSF for a “brownfield first” policy to address need for affordable and social housing, and pledges to reform business rates to “move the burden of tax from tenants to landlords” and create support to help new businesses restructure their debts.

To tackle climate change he says the UK must become carbon neutral by “as close to 2030 as possible” with 80 per cent of UK energy produced sustainably and a legally binding business carbon neutral target. Plus he says Lib Dems would create a Green Investment Bank. 

Glyn Heath — Green Party

Prestwich and Whitefield Guide:

GLYN Heath is a lecturer and clinical specialist at the University of Salford with a Ph.D in prosthetics, and is a Bury resident of 27 years.

He says his is the only party addressing climate change with the “necessary urgency” and says the issue’s implications will be “catastrophic” for society and the continuance of our species.

He and his party pledge to ensure the UK is carbon neutral by 2030 and would invest “massively” in people and infrastructure, such as green housing, transport, and energy; to achieve this.

Mr Heath’s priories include a new high school and leisure centre in Radcliffe and he and his party want to build 100,000 zero-carbon, affordable homes, without intruding on greenbelt and sites of biological interest, and would campaign for wildlife corridors.

Mr Heath says he would address the causes of crime to reduce crime rates, focussing on local policing with greater representation from different ethnic and LGTBQA+ demographics and smaller local police stations concentrating resources on tackling laws the community deem “just and fair”.

Other priorities for Mr Heath include a commitment to protect free and health and social care and education — including universities.

On Brexit he calls for a second “meaningful” referendum which he hopes will revoke Article 50 as he fears Brexit will put collaborative scientific and educational projects at risk.

If the UK does leave the EU he wants a deal which maintains free movement of goods, services, capital and people. 

Andrea Livesey — Brexit Party

Prestwich and Whitefield Guide:

ANDREA Livesey is a former nurse and retired NHS manager from Radcliffe.

She says she has a “clear vision for what is required” for Bury South but wants to listen to residents to “ensure they get a voice, a vote and a veto in what the priorities are”, adding that her party stands to return power to the electorate and ensure the 2016 referendum result is not “ignored, diluted or overturned”.

Ms Livesey wants a “clean break exit” from the EU without political and regulatory alignment and to pursue a “super Canada plus deal”.

The most pressing issues for Ms Livesey are regenerating the constituency’s three towns and protecting the greenbelt, including incentivising businesses to remain or return, creating jobs, improving transport and infrastructure and building social and affordable mixed tenure housing.

Ms Livesey also wants a “real terms” police numbers increase to boost officer visibility and combat crime, and an end to the “red tape” which she says ties them to administrative tasks.

Other priories for Ms Livesey are ensuring the NHS is publicly owned and free at the point of use, as well as increasing school places — including a new Radcliffe high school.

Gemma Evans — Women's Equality Party

Prestwich and Whitefield Guide:

GEMMA Evans is a motivational speaker, campaigner and survivor of domestic abuse.

She says she is standing to force all parties to take ending violence seriously and in light of allegations of sexual harassment against former MP Ivan Lewis.

Her policy objectives include prioritising education funding on sex and relationships teaching to ensure all children are taught about consent, equality and to respect LGBT classmates.

While for policing she wants an end to violence towards women and girls and would advocate better funding for Bury South’s frontline rape crisis and refuge services. 

Ms Evans argued that the sustainability of NHS is gendered issue with women making up the vast majority of the workforce, adding that she would push for long term staffing and funding plans to aid staff retention and compensation. 

She has called for a review of affordable housing and would would vote to unfreeze housing benefit, remove the under-occupancy penalty and two child benefit cap, overhaul private renting practices and increase the average length of tenancies.

Further, lack of access to safe, affordable housing is the single biggest barrier to leaving an abusive relationship, she argued.

And on Brexit she says leaving the EU can “only damage” Bury and will disproportionately affect women and the poorest in society — who have also been the biggest victims of austerity — and is in favour of second “people’s vote” referendum with an option to remain. 

However she says any exit deal must protect women’s rights such as equal pay and maternity rights.

Ivan Lewis — Independent

Prestwich and Whitefield Guide:

IVAN Lewis is the former Bury South MP and was first elected to the seat in 1997.

He says he is the only candidate offering ‘reasonable and moderate politics’ for people who want change and with proven track record of 22 years in office standing up for people.

He added that being an independent will enable him to “stand up and speak out for constituents without fear or favour”.

One of Mr Lewis’s top policy priorities is a “radical shake-up” of Bury Town Hall and devolution to town and district boards with “serious, clear new powers and a proper budget”.

Other priories include a more resources for early years and senior citizens services, a new Radcliffe high school with incorporated civic and swimming facilities and regeneration of Prestwich Longfield, and is keen to invite film director Danny Boyle to oversee the projects.

He added that mental health services need to be a top priority with more Government money made available, and described current policing levels in Bury are a “charter for criminals” and increased.

On housing he pledged to protect greenbelt in Simister and Ainsworth and build new affordable homes on brownfield town centre sites. 

He says it is time to get on with Brexit and is in favour of passing Boris Johnson’s deal and moving on to negotiating the future relationship with the EU and international community to “protect jobs and the standard of living” of constituents.

Michael Boyle — Independent

Prestwich and Whitefield Guide:

MICHAEL Boyle is the founder of marketing agency and was born and raised on the Hillock estate in Whitefield.

His move to politics is in part motivated from having survived the Manchester arena attack in 2017 and as an MP he says he will provide “a bold northern voice”, promising a new approach from the two traditional parties and ‘broken politics’.

He added that he will aim to ensure Bury South tax payers’ money is spent on regeneration of the constituency and pledged to “fight tooth and nail for the NHS”, tackle waiting lists and pressure on frontline services, and make Bury South healthier.

Confronting child poverty in Bury South, particularly in Sedgley and Radcliffe, is another priority, as is investment in primary and secondary schools and new school for Radcliffe, although he is worried by the “rapid academisation” of the borough’s schools.

His other objective include more free park and ride spaces at Metrolink stops and bigger multi-storey car parks, to get more people using public transport, and the introduction of electric car charging infrastructure in Bury South. 

Mr Boyle is opposed to building on greenbelt and proposes to keep the public involved with regional housebuilding discussions to find a “happy medium”.

On Brexit, he described Boris Johnson’s deal as “very fair” and is against a second referendum as he wants an “end to Brexit uncertainty and economic slowdown”.