We asked the candidates ...

Putting the Island at the forefront

What do you see as your biggest challenge if you were to be elected as East Wight’s first MP? Why?

Asked on:
Published on:
June 3, 2024

They answered ...

Vix Lowthion : Green Party
Direct answer

So many challenges await – which is one of the biggest draws of the role of MP. As other teachers know, you do the job not because it is easy, but because it is hard (said JFK on why go to the moon….).
I honestly believe that one of the biggest challenges will be to rebuild hope. Our island has seen £93million in council funding cuts since 2010 as a consequence of Conservative government austerity. Even future Labour ministers have stated that they plan to continue with the Conservative fiscal plan. It is understandable that islanders think that nothing can change, that it’s pointless to believe in better, and so they accept stagnation and decline.

As MP for IW East I would work hard to overcome that – to bring hope. The Green Party slogan for this election is “Real Hope, Real Change” and that encapsulates the challenge ahead. A Green MP for the IW East on day one would really shake up perceptions of the island, put us on the map and highlight our positive stories of sustainability. We have some brilliant local businesses and manufacturers. We grow tasty and healthy food. We have recently received some significant funding for projects in Ryde (levelling up and Arts Council) and Ventnor (Exchange and Fringe) as well as huge potential for The Bay to make progress in terms of regeneration.

IW East is full of potential. As your MP I would relish the challenge to make progress on this, and demonstrate to islanders that hope is not only possible, but it is completely justified.

Michael Lilley : Liberal Democrats
Referred to website post

The Isle of Wight has huge financial inequality compared with the mainland. Since 2017, I have been the only local Councillor consistently arguing for an Island Act as opposed to an Island Deal and highlighting the inequality of Islanders compared to their neighbours on the mainland.

Islanders earn £75 less median gross weekly earnings than the UK median (Source ONS), and the difference is even greater when compared with either Hampshire, Portsmouth, Southampton or the South East.

  • The University of Portsmouth undertook a report in 2016 which quantified that the Isle of Wight had an annual deficit of £6M of funding compared with a mainland authority. In 2023, IW Council recalculated this at more like £40M plus.
  • As MP for Isle of Wight East, a key priority would be to work with IW Council and my Isle of Wight West MP colleague to achieve fairer funding from Government for the Island and to introduce an Island Act to distribute local powers to enable proper and complete management of the Island economy. When you break down all the issues facing Islanders it is money related and legislative powers. Isle of Wight needs a fair deal and only legislation can do this.
  • There needs to be separate ferry regulation legislation to tackle one of the principle causes of this Island inequality, and that is the monopoly of unregulated ferries that have made the Solent one on the most expensive stretches of water in the world.
  • My team would be prioritised to work with IW Council from day one to collect the evidence of need and arguments, the legal case, and make the links within Lib Dems in both the House of Commons and Lords to develop a Private Members’ Bill. The late and much respected Stephen Ross (Liberal MP 1974 – 1987) successfully took this route to get the Homelessness Act of 1977 passed. Lib Dem MPs have successfully led a number of Private Members Bills through parliament. The key is to be Island and solution focused.
Emily Brothers : Labour Party
Awaiting answer

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