Constituency report: South West Norfolk
South West NorfolkThe election in South West Norfolk is a six-horse race.
South West Norfolk
The election in South West Norfolk is a six-horse race.
Latecomers Stephen Gordon, for the Liberal Democrats, the Green's Lori Allen and UKIPs Kay Hipsey had a battle on their hands however as they began canvassing and campaigning last week against Labour's Peter Smith and the Conservatives' Elizabeth Truss.
Ms Truss has, in recent weeks, met with local business leaders in Thetford and held a series of public meetings. While Mr Smith has been canvassing across the constituency and knocking on numerous doors.
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All parties appear united on a handful of issues however, ranging from the increase of services such as post offices and shops in rural villages to faster broadband speeds and better infrastructure.
The Conservative, Labour and Liberal Democrat candidates also attended a Riders are Voters (RAV) event in Tottennhill near King's Lynn, where issues ranged from potholes in the roads, to recent the closure of scores of smaller test centres, to fuel costs.
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All candidates will also appear at a husting event on Sunday at 7pm at the Paradise Road Methodist Church in Downham Market.
The BNPs Dennis Pearce is also running for election.
Ending the pension age, the future of care of the elderly and equality and respect for older people were among the topics debated at the Norfolk Council on Ageing forum at South Green Park Enterprise Centre at Mattishall.
The panel wasmade up of Timothy Birt (Green, Mid Norfolk), Charles Clarke (Labour, Norwich South), George Freeman (Conservative, Mid Norfolk) and Norman Lamb (Liberal Democrat, North Norfolk)
All four candidates agreed it would be best to end the “default” pension age to give more flexibility to people - although there would be problems implementing it. But there were differences in how the parties would fund health and social care.
The meeting was chaired by Dr Graeme Duncan, trustee of Age Concern Norfolk, who said: “Older people are important in politics because we are many - 14 million over 60s with a high proportion voting. To date older people have not been treated particularly well and our vote counts.”
Mr Birt said the Greens would increase the weekly pension to a flat rate basic amount of �170.
Mr Clarke said there were many positives about having an ageing population but he said the challenge was finding a balance between what the state pays and what people contribute to their own care.
Mr Freeman said there had to be a cross party approach to create a long term solution to the issues of care for the elderly.
Mr Lamb - the party's spokesman on health - said: “The care for the ageing population is the biggest challenge we face.”
Candidates are - Timothy Birt (Green), Richard (Toby) Coke (UKIP), George Freeman (Con), Elizabeth Hughes (Lab), Christine Kelly (BNP), David Newman (Lib Dem).
Standing in West Suffolk are - Belinda Brooks-Gordon (Lib Dem), Matthew Hancock (Con), Ramon Johns (BNP), Ohid Ahmed (Lab), Ian Smith (UKIP)