Conservative candidates response to election questions from businesses

Following the COMBEbusiness event on Wednesday 1 April, when businesses from Combe Martin, Ilfracombe and Woolacombe listed the issues they want candidates in the forthcoming town/parish, district and national elections to address, below is the response from Conservative candidates:

  • Peter Heaton-Jones – Parliamentary candidate, North Devon
  • Paul Crabb – Ilfracombe Central ward candidate, North Devon Council
  • Paul Yabsley – Ilfracombe Central ward candidate, North Devon Council
  • Lynda Courtnadge – Ilfracombe East ward candidate, North Devon Council
  • Felix Milton – Ilfracombe West ward candidate, North Devon Council
  • Edward Short – Ilfracombe West ward candidate, North Devon Council

COMBEbusiness thanks them for taking the time to consider the questions and to reply.

Conservative responses

These are the responses to the wishlist and questions put to all candidates:


We support the national campaign for a cut in VAT for accommodation businesses.  Whilst recognising that it leads to a short-term loss of revenue for the Treasury, we believe in the long term more customers would be attracted and the tax take would recover.  A sliding scale would be better than the current system. The priority must be to support our small tourism businesses which are vital to the local economy.  Peter Heaton-Jones raised this point with the Chancellor in North Devon this week.

Business Rates

We want the system to be streamlined so that every business knows when and if they have to pay anything.  There is no advice on this, unless you look into it.  A review of business rates to make them more equitable is also necessary. We also support the Chancellor’s suggestion that local authorities should be allowed to keep business rates revenue to invest specifically in the local area, and will urge the councils here to apply for this.

Bus Services

We are concerned that Devon County Council is looking at reducing bus services, although they do guarantee that nowhere that currently has a bus will be left without a service altogether.  We welcome the provision of some community services.  We would encourage all bodies involved – the councils, bus operators, passenger groups and voluntary organisations – to work together to try and ensure we get the best possible services within the financial constraints.

Business Support

We agree with all the suggestions made.  Peter Heaton-Jones is working hard with the North Devon Marketing Bureau to promote North Devon, and arranged for a government minister to launch the lorry on its tour.  More generally, he believes not enough has been done in recent years to promote North Devon as a place that’s ‘open for business’ and will use the position of MP to bang the drum more  effectively.  It’s not  just to make businesses richer, but to make sure that they can employ more people, on better wages.   District Councillors can also promote NDMB  and North Devon generally, and will of course do so.


We’re happy to look at all those options.  Following pressure from councillors, there is now a period of grace for in certain circumstances. The fact is there is no ‘one size fits all’ solution for every location and we will need to look at different answers for different places.


Everyone must play their part.  In this area, we can work with One Ilfracombe.  By forging stronger links, the people of the town will have more control over cleanliness and their environment. National guide to citizenship  is an interesting idea, but we think a local version would be of more value.  We would be happy to peruse this as a possibility.

Other party responses

Click to read the responses from candidates from Conservative, Green, Labour, Liberal Democrat and UKIP parties.

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