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Name: Tobias Ellwood
Candidate for: Bournemouth East
Former Green Jacket who is now shadow minister for culture, media and sport. Married with one son, his constituency home is at Holdenhurst.
We asked all the candidates seven questions suggested by readers. Here are this candidate's responses
Where do you stand on the Digital Economy Bill? Would you support a repeal?
As a Shadow Minister for Culture, Media and Sport I am aware of the extent to which digital piracy damages our creative industries, but I am concerned that the wrong individuals might suffer under the new rules. For example, if a guest at a local B&B downloaded files illegally it would be the owners' of the service who would be disconnected. If the Government had allowed time for the Bill to be properly scrutinised at a committee stage we would have had the chance to properly tackle problems. Clearly there is a great deal of progress that has to be made on the regulation of the digital economy ,but I do not think that this costly and time-consuming legislation should be repealed, instead we should address its contentious points in order to seek intelligent solutions.
Where do you stand on the Hunting Bill? Would you support a repeal?
I myself am against fox-hunting but I would not support a repeal of the law. I believe there are more urgent issues to address, such as the economy and the war in Afghanhistan, which should be given priority in our legislative agenda.
What is your position on Post Office closures?
The loss of our Post Offices is a very sad state of affairs. There are many examples of Post Offices in Bournemouth providing a host of vital services as well as acting as hubs of the local community. That is why we want to safeguard post offices by giving them the freedom to offer a wider range of services as well as encouraging local authorities to open "council counters" in local branches.
Where do you stand on climate change? Do you intend to deliver the current target of 15% of renewable energy by 2020, and if so, how?
I regard climate change as one of the biggest challenges facing my generation and the 15% target is one that the Conservatives are fully signed up towards achieving. At present, only 6.8% of the UK's electricity comes from renewable energy sources this is the lowest percentage in the EU. When we analyse the breakdown on CO2 emissions we can see that household electricity usage is responsible for one of the most significant causes in the increases we are witnessing. We need a collaborative effort from everybody. Why not allow every household in Bournemouth the right to generate their own electricity with solar panels? We should provide an incentive where if people generate excess amounts they should be allowed to pump it back into the grid and receive payments.
Do you support the building of more affordable housing in your area and if so, would you support the relaxation of green belt rules to accomodate it?
Affordable housing is an absolute local priority in Bournemouth East where we have around 7,000 people on the council waiting list, but our Green Belt need not be compromised in order to fulfil our needs. Take a close look at Labour's record: fewer homes have been built, in the wrong places and of the wrong kind. A Conservative Government would reverse this. We will give local councils the power to decide how many more homes we need and where they should be built, not the South West Regional Assembly in Exeter. I refuse to believe that we cannot have it both ways.
Would you support a rise in VAT?
The plans we have set out to tackle the current state of our economy do not include a rise in VAT. The only party who have drawn up plans to raise VAT are in fact the Labour Party, with Alistair Darling saying that it would be impossible to reduce the deficit without tax increases. Not true. Why not reduce the size of our bloated government instead?
Where do you stand on the issue of acadamies?
One part of the state school system which has been proven to deliver better standards, discipline and real choice is the academies programme. One of our big objectives for education is to create a new generation of independently run state schools. We will make it easier for educational charities, groups of parents and teachers, cooperatives and others to start new Academies. We will turn the best schools into academies and give every school the opportunity to apply for Academy status and extend the Academy programme to primary schools. We will also move to a national per pupil funding system, so that new schools get paid if they attract pupils, with extra funding for the poorest pupils.
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