General Election - Your view in the Dearne

Les Atkins, of Green Gate Close, Bolton.
Les Atkins, of Green Gate Close, Bolton.
0
Have your say

With the General Election just a fortnight away, we asked South Yorkshire Times readers what they think the burning issues are facing the electorate as they go to the polls.

And the response was clear - the next Government must introduce tighter controls on immigration.

Caroline Walker, of Walker's Diner, Station Street, Swinton holds a cup of coffee which is on offer. Picture: Andrew Roe

Caroline Walker, of Walker's Diner, Station Street, Swinton holds a cup of coffee which is on offer. Picture: Andrew Roe

Readers we asked also highlighted protecting budgets for the NHS and police as key priorities.

After focusing on the Doncaster North and Don Valley constituencies last week - today we are putting the spotlight on the Wentworth and Dearne area.

Residents in Swinton, Wath and Bolton-upon-Dearne - three of the key towns in the constituency - issued a wish list to the six candidates contesting the seat on May 7.

Caroline Walker, 41, of Swinton, who runs a coffee shop in the town, said: “I think immigration has gotten out of control and the next Government should get a control of this.”

Former policeman Michael Fowler, of Swinton, has written his second book, 'Cold Death'. Picture: Marie Caley S0257MC

Former policeman Michael Fowler, of Swinton, has written his second book, 'Cold Death'. Picture: Marie Caley S0257MC

She added more people should be given help to get onto the housing ladder.

“Me and my husband are both self-employed and we are struggling to get a new mortgage because we are considered ‘high risk’ because of our employment status.

“We still have a mortgage from years ago but we have been in the same terraced house for nearly 20 years. We want to go up in size but we’re not able to because we can’t get a new mortgage.

“The banks should be more lenient to help people get on to the property ladder and progress.”

Swinton precinct / town centre views

Swinton precinct / town centre views

Former coal miner Les Atkins, who suffers from lung condition chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), wants to see ministers protect the NHS.

The 70-year-old, of Green Gate Close, Bolton-upon-Dearne, said: “I rely on the NHS because of my condition so I think that should be protected from cuts.

“They keep saying they are pumping money into it but I think they should concentrate on improving efficiency. I think doctors and nurses are tied down by too much paperwork.”

He also called for a reform on taxation and said too many unskilled workers are being let into the UK.

He said: “I paid tax all of my working life on my earnings, and now I get taxed on my pension. So I’ve effectively been taxed double, which isn’t right.

“We need to make sure people coming in the country can offer something.”

Former police inspector turned author Michael Fowler, 57, of Swinton, believes the cuts to police forces across the country has resulted in less bobbies on the beat.

He said: “The cuts have been too deep to police forces. We have less officers on the frontline and a rising population, which doesn’t add up. I know everyone is having to cut their cloth accordingly, but the cuts have been too deep for the police.”

He continued: “We should have a system similar to Australia, where by you are given so many points according to what skills you have. I think this would allow us to get highly skilled people into the country who can actively contribute something.”

A Wath woman, who has worked on various community projects but did not want to be named, called for more help for local groups.

She said: “There used to be plenty of money about for community groups a few years ago but it seems to have dried up. If there was money for local projects again then this would benefit everybody.”

She added: “There must be tighter controls on immigration too. It hasn’t affected this part of the Dearne that much but it has in certain areas of Rotherham town centre and I think it’s a nationwide issue.

“So long as skilled people are coming in that’s fine. But I think there are a lot of unskilled people allowed in too.”

The Labour stronghold Wentworth and Dearne constituency has been held by John Healey since 1997.

He will contest the seat against Alan England (English Democrats), Mike Hookem (UK Independence Party), Michael Naughton (Conservative Party) and Edwin Herbert Simpson (Liberal Democrats).