THE Labour Party have named their new candidate for Woking in the May 2015 General Election.
Jill Rawling, who has been a resident of the town for more than 30 years, takes over from her short-lived predecessor Vicki Kirby, who earlier this month left the party under a dark cloud less than a week after taking up the role.
Ms Kirby was suspended from the party for a tirade of offensive and extremist posts on social media outlet Twitter, sparking a national backlash.
Her replacement, Jill, says she will be campaigning for a better standard of living across the borough: “Although Woking appears prosperous, beneath the surface many residents are finding the cost of living unsustainable, with pay not keeping up with rising costs.”
Jill has experience across a range of private sector and charity roles. She has seen both sides of the borough, and said: “I will be campaigning over the coming months for an economy that works for everyone, so that the Government do not have to subsidise those who are on the lowest wages with tax credits, putting further pressure on the welfare state.
“In Woking this can be achieved by incentivising firms to pay a living wage and, as it’s a commuter town, campaigning for fairer bus and train fares.”
Focusing on young people, with average house prices in Surrey now £422,412, her party’s priority is to build affordable houses for local people to help ‘generation rent’ get on to the property ladder.
Tackling health inequalities in the borough is also on Jill’s list. She realises that people are worried about the future of the NHS, with an ageing population and increased demands on local services, and supports the campaign for a new health centre in Byfleet.
Jill will also be campaigning for properly funded GP services, which only receive eight per cent of the health budget. She says this can only be achieved by merging NHS and Social Care budgets to provide much more seamless care.
She understands people’s concerns about immigration, but explains: “We have much to celebrate in Woking with our rich cultural diversity. However, we must ensure that there are controls to limit the unskilled workers entering our country, while encouraging those with much needed skills, such as engineers, to fill the shortage.”
Welcoming the chance to hear people’s concerns, Jill will be holding the first in a series of surgeries for people to come along to discuss issues that matter to them on Saturday, November 8 at Owen House in Woking (across the road from Heathside Crescent Car Park), from 10am until 12pm.