Candidate interview: Ross Pepper (Lib Dem)

Ross Pepper

Ross Pepper

The Liberal Democrats are in for a beating, if the polls are to be believed. However they are likely to hold several seats and might be part of a new coalition after the General Election. Their candidate in Lincoln, Ross Pepper, says liberal politics still have an important role to play.

Pepper’s opposition to the Iraq war led him to join the Liberal Democrats as a student. Along with many of his friends he was outraged and found refuge in the Liberal Democrat`s rejection of military intervention.

“I viewed the war as illegal and I was very upset about it. Joining the Lib Dems was a natural progression of my political views. As time went by I got more involved in the party and now I stand for parliament,” he told The Linc.

Initially Ross did not want to go straight into a career in politics. He believes too many MPs have little ‘real life’ experience because they went straight from university to jobs in political parties’ think tanks.

“You need a background from what everyone goes through in their everyday life,” he said. “If you don’t, you get trapped in a bubble and lack understanding of how people experience their lives.”

“We need a balance of people with different backgrounds in parliament to have the best possible representation of the country as a whole. I’m born and raised in Lincoln, so I know the city very well.

He defends the Liberal Democrats’ record in government, arguing that they have cut income tax for millions of workers and provided more help for kids struggling in school.

However, he agrees that the party have had to make compromises and conceded on some issues to the Tories.

“We lost on issues such as marriage tax breaks and tuition fees. These policies were not right, but you can’t always have your way in a coalition.”

As an MP for Lincoln, Ross Pepper says he will fight for better transport, more investment and jobs for the city.

“Over the past decades Lincoln have seen lots of regeneration. The area where the university is now was an eyesore, now it is one of the city’s biggest employers. The Brayford area is also a good example, but there are also negative sides. The increase in traffic is problematic and we need a strong overall plan to solve it.

“We should also spread investment around the city, so all areas can benefit from it,” he added.

On the issue of money, Pepper admits the UK does not have an endless pocket. Expenditure must be controlled, he argues, but not by cutting as fast and deep as the Conservatives want.

“We need to get a good balance between getting those who have enough pay into the system, and that does who struggle get help.

“Services must be streamlined to make sure there is no resources are wasted. Some time there is a lot of unnecessary middle management costing the taxpayer.”

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