Election interviews - Jim Clarke - Labour - Local lad stands for local values

Having stood for Labour in December’s by-election, Jim Clarke says he aims to deliver on the party’s new election manifesto.

The council refuse collection driver from Sleaford insisted he was still ‘no politician’: “I am still a local lad standing for local values representing the community and investment in that community.”

Among his party’s pledges he backs a £10 living wage by 2020, a reversal of housing benefit cuts, a review of Universal Credit and public ownership of railways to claw back a greater share of profits currently made on lucrative rail franchises.

On Europe, he said: “We want to be within the European customs union. Free movement of labour has to end but we are not prepared to use EU migrants as bargaining chips - they should be able to stay if they are living and working in this country paying taxes. We want a fair immigration policy.”

Those earning over £80,000 a year would be asked to pay more towards the NHS. “Also we would provide free parking at hospitals,” Mr Clarke said. “We would reinstate the nursing bursary to start training our own people too. Post Brexit there will be job creation and opportunities to retrain for new jobs.”

He insisted their plans were fully costed: “When interest rates are so low, why not borrow to invest?”

His party wanted to bring in regional investment banks to put money into infrastructure and local projects, promising schools would be funded correctly, free primary school meals, but no new grammar schools.

Mr Clarke said: “I would like to see the A17 dualled to get goods to the A1 quicker to give businesses a fighting chance. I want to live in a community where everyone has an opportunity to prosper together.”

l Also standing for Sleaford and North Hykeham: Sally Chadd (UKIP), Paul Coyne (Independent), Caroline Johnson (Conservative), Fiona McKenna (Green) and Ross Pepper (Liberal Democrats).