Friday 12 July 2024
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General Election 2024: Conservative candidate Ruth Edwards sets out plans for Rushcliffe

Election candidate for The Conservatives Ruth Edwards sets out her plan for Rushcliffe should she be chosen as your MP.

Ruth said:

‘Elections are funny times, you find yourself clocking up about 20 thousand steps a day, eating various forms of beige food at strange times and never wanting to see a picture of your face again, after all the thousands of leaflets you’ve bundled and delivered!

‘It’s been the honour of my life to represent Rushcliffe in Parliament for the last four years. When I stood in 2019, I set-out a clear local plan to deliver for Rushcliffe. A plan to: increase investment in healthcare facilities, boost funding for schools, improve transport across our area, support local businesses and jobs, tackle flooding, protect our countryside and environment, fight crime and roll out gigabit capable broadband.

‘We’ve faced considerable headwinds. The COVID pandemic, which saw much of the economy shut down for the best part of two years, put a huge strain on our public services. This was followed by Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, which sent energy prices rocketing and with it, inflation.

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‘The Government spent over £400 billion protecting businesses and jobs through schemes such as furlough and energy bill support, paying half of the average household energy bill when prices were at their highest. We have made getting inflation down our highest priority, and I am relieved it’s now back down from over 11% to normal levels. Energy bills are also down, the economy is growing again, we have record numbers of people in work and wages have been rising higher than prices for the last 10 months. I hope that soon, this will start to translate into interest rate cuts and the pressures on household budgets easing.

Even with all of these issues, we’ve made great progress.

New health facilities for Rushcliffe

‘On healthcare, I’ve worked with local health authorities and colleagues to secure more investment in new healthcare facilities.
To speed up diagnosis, we have secured a new Diagnostic Centre in Broadmarsh, which will provide over 100,000 more checks, tests and scans from next spring. I have also supported plans for a new Elective Surgery Hub at City Hospital, which will help to get waiting lists down.
Rushcliffe will soon become the nation’s centre of excellence for rehabilitation, as the National Rehabilitation Centre, one of the Government’s 40 new hospitals, opens near Stanford Hall next year. It will share equipment and expertise with the Defence National Rehabilitation Centre, next door.

‘Looking forward, many of you have told me of your frustration when trying to book GP appointments. There has been a huge surge in demand for appointments since the pandemic and Rushcliffe’s population is growing.

‘If I’m re-elected in July, I will convene meetings with local GP practices to discuss what their plans are to expand as new housing comes on stream. I will also continue to work with local healthcare authorities to progress the plans for a new health centre in East Leake and to secure another for Radcliffe-on-Trent, to serve the village as it grows.

‘Investing in the next generation. New schools, extra places confirmed.

‘I have worked with the county council and the Department for Education to help secure huge investments into our local schools and create hundreds more places for local children at Rushcliffe Spencer Academy and South Wolds Academy. A new primary school is also being built in East Leake and plans for a new secondary school are being assessed.

‘Refurbishments of existing buildings are already underway at schools like Sutton Bonington Primary. I will push for similar upgrades to other Rushcliffe schools, such as at Edwalton Primary.

‘I oppose Labour’s plans for VAT on private schools. I have deep concerns about the impact on local capacity. My fear is that such a big, sudden increase in school fees would lead many parents to take their children out of independent schools and put them into the state sector, further increasing demand for local school places. At a stroke, this will undo all the investment and progress we have made.

Fixing our roads

‘Local transport has never been so important. Potholes are one of the local issues that is most frequently raised with me. I have worked with other local MPs to secure a 33% increase in Nottinghamshire County Council’s budget to fix our roads. This is starting to come on stream now, with major re-surfacing being done on the Melton Road at Hickling Pastures and coming in August on Stragglethorpe road near Cotgrave. The Conservative party has committed to spending £8 billion from the cancellation of HS2 on fixing potholes in the Midlands and the North, this year and next. If I’m re-elected I will be straight down to Parliament, to argue for our fair share of this funding to be released immediately.

Better buses and more trains

Good public transport is also important. I have worked with local residents, councillors and Trent Barton, to improve the reliability of The Keyworth bus, which links Tollerton, Plumtree and Keyworth to Nottingham. As demand for bus services has changed after COVID, I have worked with the county council to get a new On-demand bus for rural villages in West Rushcliffe. I get very good feedback on this from residents and I will campaign to get an on-demand service expanded across the rest of Rushcliffe’s rural villages, where there is a need for it.

‘We have more trains at Radcliffe-on-Trent station, but not enough yet. Last month I brought the Secretary of State for Transport to Radcliffe to hear our case in person, I’ll keep campaigning until we get the funding we need.
Lots of people have also raised the need for more joined up cycling provision across West Bridgford and the surrounding area, I’ll work with local residents and councillors to push for this and make sure the new bridge for pedestrians and cyclists over the Trent connects to good infrastructure across our area and connects with the wider active travel network.

New hydrogen jobs for Rushcliffe and supporting local businesses

‘The last couple of years have also been incredibly difficult for local businesses. I worked with many over the pandemic to make sure they could access the government’s financial support and I’m really grateful to Rushcliffe Borough Council for how quickly it distributed the Government’s COVID grants.

‘In Parliament, I’ve campaigned successfully to reduce business rates for our local high street businesses and to raise the threshold at which businesses start to pay VAT. I will continue to work to reform and reduce taxes for SMEs and entrepreneurs. I will fully support the Conservatives plans to abolish National Insurance Contributions for the self-employed and push for online giants to pay their fair share, for example, through raising business rates on warehouses that online platforms use for distribution.

‘Rushcliffe also has the opportunity to be at the heart of the exciting opportunity to create jobs and growth, as we move to greener forms of energy. I campaigned hard for the East Midlands Freeport, and to include the Ratcliffe-on-Soar power station site within it. This will offer tax reliefs and incentives to green energy producers and advanced manufacturers who want to locate on the site, giving it an exciting new future after the coal fired power station is decommissioned later this year. Green hydrogen will be produced there as part of a partnership between hydrogen producers, gas distributors and local commercial customers, who are currently large-scale gas users.

‘I represented East Midlands MPs as part of the East Midlands Freeport board and I am currently working with the Department for Transport and the Freeport to make sure the local infrastructure we need is developed before, not after, new jobs and businesses are located on the site. I will not allow our rural villages to suffer traffic chaos and will ensure that measures are in place to manage traffic flows away from rural Rushcliffe.

Countryside protected… For now

‘Alongside cleaning up our energy and reducing carbon emissions, we need to protect Rushcliffe’s beautiful countryside. We all know that Rushcliffe has had to take far more houses than it should have in the last few years, due to Nottingham Labour’s failure to meet their own housing target. I have campaigned hard to reform our planning laws to abolish the rules that allowed councils to push their housing targets on to their neighbours. Our reforms also abolished mandatory top-down housing targets set by Government for local councils and increase the contributions developers have to make to local infrastructure.
If Labour get into government, Keir Starmer has made very clear that they will abolish these reforms and protections for the greenbelt. I will be a strong voice for Rushcliffe in opposing this and fighting to protect our green spaces. Working with local residents, I have opposed plans for a new gravel quarry next to Barton in Fabis, I will also support the local community to oppose plans for a huge housing estate on Tollerton Airport.

Cleaning up our rivers and streams

‘Improving water quality and cleaning up our rivers are two more of my big priorities.
In this Parliament, I have supported plans to force water companies to tackle sewage spills by rolling out 100% monitoring of all storm overflows, investing £56 billion in infrastructure to increase the capacity of our sewerage networks, banning executive bonuses for companies who commit criminal breaches and banning large dividend payments for water companies who have a poor environmental performance. I have also supported the introduction of unlimited fines for water companies who pollute. Money raised from these fines is being invested in river restoration.

‘Locally, I have secured a £25 million investment from Severn Trent to nearly double the capacity of our local sewage treatment works and network. This will drastically reduce sewage spills and associated flooding.

‘There are many causes of river pollution, including run off from agriculture and industrial sources. We need to link everyone together to tackle these. If I am re-elected, I will convene a water summit with all the relevant bodies and individuals, as well as local communities. We need local solutions to the particular issues in Rushcliffe, just as we do for flooding.

Success and updates on tackling flooding

‘Speaking of flooding, continuing to tackle flood issues will stay high on my agenda. Over the last four years I’ve supported local communities and parish councils across Rushcliffe to make sure local flood agencies are fulfilling their obligations to keep our drains clear and upgrade our drainage infrastructure and flood defences.
We have made excellent progress in addressing some of the areas which regularly flood, but there’s more still to do. I will continue to hold flood agencies to account and to press the government for more powers for us to do this effectively and get faster results. I’ve worked with Cropwell Butler to secure government funding for natural solutions to tackle flooding. I’ll work with other villages in Rushcliffe to secure funding for this and other flood defences too.

Faster broadband, confirmed!

‘I know how frustrating poor broadband is. I understand how limiting it can be if you need to pay a bill or buy something but you are faced instead by those two dreaded words; ‘Limited Connection’. I’ve worked since 2019 to push the government to invest in gigabit capable broadband for Rushcliffe through its Project Gigabit programme.

As a result of the work we’ve done, superfast broadband is being rolled out in Radcliffe-on-Trent, Tithby, Cropwell Butler, Cropwell Bishop, Kinoulton, Widmerpool, Bunny, Gotham, Barton in Fabis, Colston Bassett, Upper Broughton, Langar, Rempstone, Willoughby-On-The-Wolds and Wysall.

Crime reduced in Rushcliffe

‘We also need security for all our communities. Since being elected in 2019, I have secured a considerable increase in resources to fight crime. With 400 more police officers for Nottinghamshire, ‘Safer Streets’ funding from government to tackle burglary, shoplifting and anti-social behaviour in West Bridgford. Burglary has fallen by 46%, anti-social behaviour by 25% and we’ve seen a drop in vehicle crime and shoplifting too. A big focus on rural crime, through crime prevention visits and a cross-border operation, has led to a 50% reduction in rural crime in Rushcliffe this year.
I know many people are frustrated with being unable to walk into police stations in Rushcliffe. If I’m re-elected I’ll campaign for police stations to re-open their doors and for a big push to make sure all residents have the contact details for their local beat officers. I have also been working with residents to identify residential roads where speeding is a real problem and I’ll push for stronger speed monitoring and enforcement measures in these areas.

Threats at home and abroad

‘The next Parliament is going to one which has to tackle the big international challenges we face. Near the top of that list will be the threats posed by rogue states and individuals to our cyber defence.

I’ll continue to use my previous experience, outside of Parliament, in business and the cyber security industry, to help ensure the UK is ready for the threats we face.

My promise to you
I hope this gives you a flavour of what a vote for me on the 4th July would mean. If I’m re-elected, I will continue to work hard to make sure all the progress we’ve made is delivered in full.’

Note: Candidates have been invited to send their views which will be published in the coming days should they respond. 

Ruschliffe Candidates

Ruth Edwards (Con)

James Grice (Reform)

Lynn Irving (Ind)

Richard Mallender (Green)

James William Naish (Lab)

Harbant Kaur Sehra (Ind)

Greg Webb (Lib Dem)

•  General Election 2024: Rushcliffe Constituency Spotlight

•  General Election 2024: Lynn Irving, Independent candidate for Rushcliffe sets out her vision

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