'Don't be a sheep' - Liberal Democrat Graham Lockwood's message to voters in the December 12 General Election
Liberal Democrat Graham Lockwood is fighting in this year's General Election.
As part of our interviews with all candidates standing for Scarborough and Whitby, we've spoken to the Scarborough businessman about his views on a variety of issues.
Brexit: What’s your stance on Brexit, and what impact do you think it will have on the borough? How do you intend on resolving the current impasse while making sure the will of the people is respected?
Graham Lockwood: "Every single household is now more than £3,000 poorer, how much more is this fiasco going to cost us? By voting for the Liberal Democrat Party we can stop Brexit, and the Conservative Party wasting any more of our money. No-one voted three years ago to be lied to, and then told we had no other choice."
Climate change: Scarborough Council, which declared a climate emergency earlier this year, has a target of making the area carbon neutral by 2030. As an MP, what steps will you take to ensure concrete measures can be brought in for Scarborough and Whitby?
Graham Lockwood: "Tree coverage in Europe averages 35%, in Scarborough and Whitby only 14% is woodland, we should aim for at least 30%. The Liberal Democrats will plant 60 million trees a year in the UK, and restore peatlands. The slogan 46 years ago was ‘plant a tree in 73’, I am happy to say that the one I planted at Newby School is doing well, and I’ve started a tree nursery in my garden.
"Tidal lagoon projects work, yet the Conservative Party scrapped the building of the first one in the UK in 2018. We simply must embrace the future and become the world’s global leader in tidal power.
"A new building act needs to ensure all new homes are built to the highest standards, and encourage local authority to incorporate renewable energy schemes. Proper insulation of existing properties is a necessity."
Low paid jobs: Recent research from the BBC shows that people working in coastal towns are paid on average £1,600 a year less than people inland. As an MP, how do you plan to address the issue of low paid jobs which is driving young people away?
Graham Lockwood: "Tidal lagoons producing electricity have many benefits, the one I visited in France took three years to build, and requires regular maintenance, the same is true of wind turbines. New homes need to be built, and older properties require improved standards. Already mentioned is tree planting on a massive scale, 16 local areas are at risk of flooding. Instead of reacting to flood risk, we need to take preventative measures, all of which require labour. There is also the electric car revolution around the corner, charging points are few at present, we are going to need installers, let’s get on with the training."
Transport: With the A64 still waiting to be upgraded, and rail services unreliable, many feel that unless something is done “we will be left behind”. What are your plans to improve our transport links?
Graham Lockwood: "For the sake of six miles of removed track between Malton and Pickering, visitors are unable to access Whitby quickly from York, our biggest local international tourist destination. A boat trip down the coast to Scarborough, and a state of the art electric train back to York, must surely be a winner for our area. A personal dream of mine is then to travel non stop from York to Paris, Amsterdam or Brussels on a Eurostar style train, prosperity is but a train journey away."
NHS: What will you do to make sure local NHS services receive more funding? Parties have made pledges to increase funding to the NHS overall but how will you make sure local services will benefit directly?
Graham Lockwood: "For over 20 years Liberal Democrat policy has been to ringfence a 1% income tax increase to fund the NHS and social care. This will raise £7 billion a year, that’s £35 billion over 5 years! Why have successive Labour and Conservative governments not adopted this source of funding for our most vital public service?"
Mental health: Scarborough has the 8th highest suicide rate in the country. What will you do to improve local mental health services?
Graham Lockwood: "Prevention is always better than a cure, the warning signs of depression and loneliness are best dealt with early, and we are all susceptible. Well men and women clinics, social events and screening all make a difference to prevention, I would like to see the 1% tax policy adopted immediately, it makes perfect sense to me."
Social care: Social Care campaigners are asking for better funding, incentives to encourage providers to invest and measures to recognise the work care workers and unpaid carers do. What will you do to support this call?
Graham Lockwood: "The planet earth is a giant spaceship travelling through time, upon which, we are all passengers, and if we are lucky we will, as a result of time grow old. Longevity is now a reality for most of us, my mum is now 90 years old and going strong. In my lifetime I have seen several family members and friends live beyond 90. This has to be a good thing, and testament to the improved lifestyle that we now enjoy, but this has to be paid for, and the 1% tax is the first step. Recognition of the staff that care for our disabled and elderly is vital, in my opinion they are not regarded highly enough. Pay rates, must therefore, reflect the level of commitment they put in."
Education: Children in coastal schools achieve on average two and a half grades lower at GCSE than their inland peers, according to research by the Department for Education. What will you do to narrow this gap and support our schools in the Opportunity Area?
Graham Lockwood: "The Liberal Democrat Party have pledged to train and employ 20,000 more teachers to help reduce class sizes, and introduce individual skills wallets of £10,000 to every adult to spend on their education throughout their lifetime. Education in Scarborough and Whitby is at the top of our party priorities, with 35 hours of free childcare available to all between the age of 9 months and 4 years. Nationally we will make available £500 million for youth spending to local authorities."
Trust: Why should voters trust you as opposed to the other candidates? What is your background?
Graham Lockwood: "There are many sheep in North Yorkshire, and not all of them have four legs. It’s easy to be a sheep, going with the flow and just doing what all the other sheep are doing. The problem starts when the sheep do what Vladimir Putin wants them to do, which is fall out with their European neighbours. The last thing the Kremlin in Moscow wants is a happy, contented, united Europe. No, the Farage Conservative and Labour Parties Kremlin sheep must be encouraged to wander off on their own. The Labour and Farage Conservative Parties Kremlin sheep can then fall out between themselves, with the added bonus of not only splitting away from Europe but also splitting up the UK. These two not very distinct Kremlin sheep breeds can therefore be called collectively as the Kreeps. Dominic Grieve, Heidi Allen, Chuka Umunna, David Gauke, Sarah Wollaston and many others are not sheep. It takes a great deal of courage to stand up for what you believe in and think for yourself.
"Raised on a local farm, attended Newby and Scalby School, studied Motor Cycle engineering in London, and History at Goldsmith's College as a mature student, now runs own business from home here in Scarborough."