30 APR 2010

Kingsbridge, Dartmouth and Brixham with Ann Widdecombe, 30th April

It was good to spend a morning with Ann Widdecombe visiting three fantastic coastal towns and listening to local views.

Amongst others, mortgage issues for the self employed and problems with bank lending to small businesses were raised. Time and again in this campaign I have heard small businesses' concerns about the gulf between the private and state sectors; pensions and sickness benefits are clear examples of how the private sector and self employed are at a disadvantage. Effectively the private sector pays twice, once through taxation for public sector pensions and again into their own pension schemes, now decimated by Labour's stealth tax on private pensions. Business rates and the refusal of the government to reconsider the revaluations (even though the valuations were at the peak of the market) were again an issue affecting many businesses.

Sandra Drew wanted to talk about local defence sector employment. I am very aware that the defence industry provides many jobs in the Southwest and local MPs need to support their survival.

The issue of immigration arose many times today, with several people indignant that Gordon Brown accuses even lifelong supporters of bigotry for asking the question. Conservative policy is clear on this issue.

Overall this was a great day with people enthusiastic to discuss their political views and give a warm welcome to Ann Widdecombe.

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