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Election 2015: Eccles hustings recap

On Saturday 18 April candidates vying to take over Hazel Blears’ Salford and Eccles seat in Parliament were quizzed at St Mary’s Roman Catholic Church Schoolroom on Oxford Street.

The election debate saw each party get a short introduction before answering questions on topics such as the economy, education and the NHS.

Noreen Bailey, 68, from the Trade Union and Socialist Coalition, was the first to speak and told the audience: “I have lived in Salford since I was 17 and been a foster carer for many of those.”

She spoke in great detail about her time, adding: “I want to fight for those in Salford who don’t feel like they have a voice.”

Next up to speak was Labour candidate, Rebecca Long-Bailey. She spoke in some detail about what she believed were major problems in Salford; these were the issues around increasing use of food banks and the proliferation of zero-hour contracts.

She also spoke about Labour’s plans to clamp down on tax avoidance and claimed: “Those at the top will pay their fair share.”

One of her final points was on apprenticeships with no sign of employment will be stopped and employers will be forced to pay the living wage.

Greg Downes, a Vicar at King’s Church in High Wycombe, is standing for the Conservatives.

He told the audience that he got involved with politics because of the all-time low in confidence levels from the public towards politicians.

Downes spoke about how he felt that whilst the last five years haven’t been perfect, improvements are being made. He wanted to carry this on with new schools and infrastructure.

Paul Doyle is the candidate for UKIP and his background is in the Armed Forces and has served in Afghanistan.

He spoke about his disillusionment with Salford and that he “can’t stand by whilst this great city goes down the drain”.

One of the key points he made was encouraging people to get apprenticeships rather than going to university: “I want to bring mass employment to Salford,” he added.

At the end of the event, members of the audience were able to ask questions.

There was one question and issue surrounding the privatisation of the NHS.

Emma Van Dyke of the Green Party responded: “People don’t believe any parties will stop the privatisation.

“Labour introduced Private Finance Initiatives to the NHS.

“The Conservatives and Liberal Democrats then went off on a plan of top down re-organisation.”

The next community hustings takes place at Irlam and Cadishead College on Wednesday 23 April at 6.15pm.

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Tom is SalfordOnline.com's News Editor and community co-ordinator.