In Sleaford and North Hykeham I am hearing over and over again that there major problems for people who live in the villages in the constituency. Shops closing, post office closing, schools closing. Houses are too expensive, fuel is too expensive, food is becoming too expensive. Buses are not there, broadband is not there, tranquility is not there.
We need to change things so that people living and working in the countryside get a fair deal. The Liberal Democrats have set out what we believe has to happen to protect and promote the lives of people living in the countryside. The Liberal Democrats will work with businesses to find ways of reducing red tape so that local businesses can flourish and serve their communities. We know that the Post Office and village pubs are at the heart of many communities and have to be supported. It is disgraceful that 17 post offices have closed in the 10 years 1997 to 2007. If elected I will work with local people to find ways to re-open as many of these as possible. Looking for opportunities for a village post office to also be the village store. To further help people stay in their village the Liberal Democrats will deliver broadband coverage and quality in rural areas. This will give people the chance to access many services using the internet. We will give councils greater powers to regulate bus services according to rural community needs. So that we will not see services disappear as we have in Doddington. I fail to understand how we take away a bus service that enables young people to access their youth club and then complain the young are hanging around. Why not reduce the size of the bus or better still talk to the people and ask them what they want. To support the fact that there is limited public transport we will reduce fuel duty in remote areas. With a 20% rise in road usage in the past few years we need to look at how we can reduce this. One way is to put freight back onto the railways. We need affordable houses for people. With just over 500 empty houses in the constituency that is 500 families that could be housed without building a single house. then we need to build affordable housing so that our young people are not forced into the moving away from their families.
Farmers are getting a raw deal from the big supermarkets and we will ensure farmers and consumers both get a fair price for food by creating a legally binding supermarket code, enforced by an independent Food Market Regulator.
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