My pledges to you:

- I will be accessible, available and active in our communities

- I will fight for our public services and the NHS

- I will work with the Labour council and charities to tackle poverty

- I will continue to champion our town and its diverse communities

- I will continue my community voluntary work

Many issues are being raised with me on the doorstep when I’ve been out talking with and listening to residents in Luton South. Here are some of the key things we’ve discussed:

 

Homelessness and Housing

In Luton too many people are living in substandard or overcrowded rented housing, or just can’t afford to get on the housing ladder. We have a housing crisis and only Labour has a plan to fix it. I fully support Labour’s policy for local councils to build 100,000 council houses a year. However, for places like Luton where we have limited space to do so I will push for greater strategic oversight so that our residents are able to access new social rent homes.

I am one hundred percent in favour of ending the conversion of office blocks to homes under permitted development rights – this has mainly resulted in poor quality accommodation with insufficient or inappropriate outside space for children to play. Increasing renters rights against rogue landlords and improving standards

Labour will end rough sleeping within five years with a national plan driven by a prime minister-led taskforce. Key to this is Labour’s plan to raise the Local Housing Allowance in line with the 30th percentile of local rents, and an additional £1bn a year for councils’ homelessness services – as a local Luton councillor I know how vital and necessary this funding will be.

 

NHS and access to GPs

Our Labour manifesto says: “The NHS is one of Labour’s proudest achievements. The right to free-at-the-point-of-use healthcare, universal and comprehensive in scope, is socialism in action” and I wholeheartedly support this. Making profit out of people’s health, or actually their ill-health, is morally wrong in my book. 

Labour’s investment in NHS workforce, including bringing back the nurses’ bursary to help people train, will ensure patients receive the care and services they need, after years of Tory under-funding.  I one hundred percent support Labour’s proposals to end and reverse privatisation in the NHS, and provide free prescriptions and free dental check-ups.  

 

Police and crime

With 21,000 police officers being cut by the Tories, people are right to raise concerns about rising knife crime and the fear of our young people being drawn into gangs. Labour will invest in policing to prevent crime, re-establishing neighbourhood policing and recruiting 2,000 more police than have been planned by the Tories. Labour will also rebuild youth services and invest in a youth justice system in which schools, councils, health authorities and youth services work together to divert young people away from the pathways towards crime.

 

Railways

Bringing our railways back into public ownership is popular, and as a commuter for many years myself, I was pleased to see Labour’s plan to reduce rail fares by a third too. People have also spoken to me about the state of Luton station and the lack of investment in regenerating it. 

I have actively campaigned to keep trains calling at Luton town station, against rail fare rip offs and in support of the regeneration of Luton station, a key gateway to our town. I will continue to make this a priority, working with local rail users groups and the Council to get the investment we so desperately need.

 

The European Union (EU)

Like the majority of people in Luton I voted to leave the EU. I believe it is anti-democratic and anti-socialist and, with free-market competition as its key driver, it favours big business over workers.

However, I have friends who voted leave and who voted remain, and similarly I’ve spoken with people who voted both leave and remain on the doorsteps in Luton South – all of whom who did so from a desire for a positive future for our town and our country.

In fact, most people want to focus on the wider issues and challenges affecting us after 10 years of austerity, imposed on us by the Tories and Lib Dems, including the housing crisis, lack of policing and rising crime, and saving our NHS.

This is why I support Labour’s policy, agreed by our membership, to move swiftly forward, with negotiating a good Labour Deal, which protects workers rights and environmental protections, within three months, with a vote on that Labour Deal, or the status quo, within six months.

Promoted by Russell Cartwright on behalf of Rachel Hopkins

both at 3 Union Street, Luton LU1 3AN

© 2019 Rachel Hopkins