Following the COMBEbusiness event on Wednesday 1 April, when businesses from Combe Martin, Ilfracombe and Woolacombe listedÂ the issues they want candidates in the forthcoming town/parish, district and national elections to address, belowÂ is the response from LabourÂ candidates:
- Mark CannÂ – Parliamentary candidate, North Devon
- Toby Ebert â€“ Ilfracombe Central
- Marianna Holdsworth â€“ Ilfracombe West
COMBEbusiness thanks themÂ for taking the time to consider the questions and to reply.
These are the responses to theÂ wishlist and questionsÂ put to all candidates:
Labour has no plans to change the rates of VAT â€“ I support, however, the variation allowed and applied in many other EU countries to reduce the rates for tourism attractions and accommodation providers.
To support the growth of local businesses in our high streets and town centres, Labour will cut business rates on properties with an annual rental value of less than Â£50,000 in 2015 and freeze them in 2016. This will mean an average saving of nearly Â£450 on 1.5 million properties.
Buses are the lifelines of our cities, counties, towns and villages â€“ they reduce congestion, get people to work, drive economic growth and keep communities alive. The bus market is not working â€“ many areas are seeing their bus services disappear and the Competition Commission has said failures in the bus market are costing taxpayers up to Â£305 million each year. The next Labour Government will give city and county regions greater control over the buses in their area. This will give local areas more control over the way buses are operated so that they can decide routes, set fares, drive improvements in services and bring together trains, buses and trams into a single network with smart ticketing
We want to empower communities to take back their high streets, and to work with businesses and landlords to build town centres in which people want to live, shop, work and invest. We believe communities have the knowledge and are best placed to shape what their high streets look like, and determine the balance of shops, entertainment, leisure and housing needed for their area. Labour will give local communities greater powers over permitted development and use class designations and changes.
Local parking charges are too often seen as revenue streams rather than offering a service. We need to recognise that holiday destinations need to encourage and not discourage visitors and sensible parking regimes need to reflect local and visitor needs. Motorhome parking is often overlooked and itâ€™s good to see there is provision in Ilfracombe but more could be done generally to encourage these visitors. We also need to do more to encourage public transport use to cut down on the number of car journeys that have to be made.
More needs to be done by way of education and public awareness to encourage us all to take better care of our local environment.
Something that we also need to consider is the need to improve the quality of the air we breathe.Â Labour will give local authorities the power, as well as the responsibility, to tackle air pollution, and work with them to develop a holistic strategy to meet EU targets on air quality.