Cardiff candidates debate in Heath Park

April 22, 2010 No Comments »
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Election candidates were up on plinths to address the audience

With the sun shining on Heath Park, it was politics that clouded the skies for an election debate on the deficit, health and international development.

The debate, part of The Independent’s ‘Soapbox Live’ tour saw candidates from all parties to take questions from the public.

Simon Rogers, who lives in the Cardiff Central ward, was interested to know how each party would cut national debt.

Karen Robson, Conservative candidate for Cardiff Central, said: “We’ve identified £6 billion in savings. We need to scrap ID cards and save a lot of money there. We have to start now, we have to cut now or it’s only going to get worse.”

Julie Morgan, Labour candidate for Cardiff North, said: “We plan to cut the deficit in half over the next four years. We need more time to come out of the recession.”

John Dixon, Liberal Democrat candidate for Cardiff North, said: “We have a costed plan and we want to reduce the deficit by two thirds over four years. We want to increase personal tax allowances to £10,000 and increase the tax on higher earners to pay for that.”

Llywelyn Rhys, Plaid Cymru candidate for Cardiff North, also wanted to scrap ID cards to save money and introduce a better standard of pensions.

Christopher Van Ruhland, Green Party candidate for Cardiff North, said: “The economic system has caused environmental damages. We’re forgetting there is only one planet for us to live on and we need to change our lifestyles.”

John Harrold, representing the Christian Party and standing in the Vale of Glamorgan, said: “I was taught by my parents, if you haven’t got it don’t spend it.”

Alun Williams, who works in Cardiff, wanted to know what each candidate thought about international aid.

Karen Robson said the Tories would ring-fence international aid, Julie Morgan claimed international development as one of Labour’s proudest achivements and John Dixon said the government needed to stop counting military support as part of aid funding.

When asked about health, the candidates all agreed they were limited on what they could do as it was a devolved issue but all wanted to have their say.

Julie Morgan said: “We’ve seen a transformation in the NHS in Wales since 1997 and we’ve reduced waiting lists. University Hospital Wales has one of the best MRI scanners in the world being tested here. Cardiff has world beating health care.”

Llywelyn Rhys said: “Plaid have been fighting for years and years to reform the Barnett formula which impacts on our health care funding. It’s not based on our needs and needs to be changed.”

John Dixon said: “I’ve had enough reorganisations of the NHS, we need to work within the existing legislation and get the different areas working together. I want to release money to make sure people can be cared for in their own homes.”

Karen Robson said: “The Barnett Formula has had its day. I commend everyoine who works in the NHS and we have to make sure the money goes to care not beaucracy.”

The majority of the audience, when asked at the end of the debate, voted for the result of the election to be a hung Parliament.

Ron Horne, from Whitchurch, said he enjoyed the debate and found it very useful in helping him decide who to vote for.

Rory Weller, from The Independent, said: “It was great to just hear the voice of the candidates and the people. Thought there was a nice vibe here today and people enjoyed hearing from the smaller parties as well as the more established ones.”

Find out about candidates in your area of Cardiff with our quick guide to Election 2010 in Cardiff

Did you go to the debate? What did you think of the candidates and their answers? Would you like to see more public debates between Cardiff candidates? Let us know in the comments below.

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