WORKINGTON’S seven general election candidates have been quizzed on three key issues around taxes – welfare and how they propose to protect the most vulnerable members of society; business rates; and how they propose to support working families. Here’s what they had to say.


Sue Hayman (Labour): Labour will scrap the Bedroom Tax, increase ESA for those in the work-related activity group, increase the Carer’s Allowance, and scrap the benefit cap and two-child limit, lifting 300,000 children from poverty.

Mark Jenkinson (Conservative): We will end the benefit freeze. We will reduce the number of reassessments that a disabled person must go through when a significant change in condition is unlikely. We will maintain our commitment to free school meals.

Jill Perry (Green Party): We would transform our social welfare system by phasing in a Universal Basic Income (UBI), an unconditional financial payment to everyone at a level above their subsistence needs.

David Walker (Brexit Party): A safety net for those in need is essential in a caring society. Universal Credit has not worked. We support those who have paid into the system and we will deliver accelerated payment processes. We undertake to re-examine the current system within 12 months and review the position of women short-changed by rises in the state pension age.

Neil Hughes (Lib Dems): Lib Dems would entirely reform Universal Credit so that benefits are paid upfront, rent paid as per local need and work allowances increase.

Roy Ivinson (Independent): I want to see everyone having a decent living standard in society. The problem with the benefit system is that there’s a kind of good cop, bad cop mentality – one hand turns the tap on and the other one turns it back off. We need a system that gives regular payments to people so they can rely on it.

Nicky Cockburn (Independent): My first priority would be to look into the family court system as the lack of judiciary training and secrecy, as well as the lack of accountability, appears to be negatively impacting on the abused and/or innocent.

Someone diagnosed with a terminal illness must be really fast tracked and prioritised in the welfare system.


Sue Hayman: Business rates are causing real issues for high-street retailers and others. Labour will review the option of a land value tax on commercial landlords as an alternative and develop a retail sector industrial strategy.

Mark Jenkinson: We will reduce business rates via a fundamental review of the system. First, we will further reduce business rates for retail businesses, extending discounts to grassroots music venues, small cinemas and pubs.

Jill Perry: The Green plan will give small businesses access to lending at affordable rates, from a network of regional mutual banks. These new banks will provide funding for locally-led economic initiatives, including co-operatives, community interest companies and other non-profit businesses. It would also grant 15 per cent of government contracts to small and micro businesses.

David Walker: Our new contract provides zero rate corporation tax for the first £10,000 of pre tax profits boosting thousands of smaller companies. We will also overhaul financial services regulations and boost lending to smaller enterprises.

Neil Hughes: We’d scrap business rates and replace these with a commercial landowner levy, taxing the latter not the company. Over 90 per cent of UK business areas would be better off.

Roy Ivinson: Shops on the high street are being unfairly treated because multinationals do their business online and don’t pay rates. I think two per cent of electricity produced by land-based wind turbines should go to local government as compensation, rather than expect shopkeepers to finance councils.

Nicky Cockburn: In order to help the town centres and small businesses, I would abolish business rates and replace with a profit related local income tax.


Sue Hayman: Labour will eradicate in-work poverty with a Real Living Wage of at least £10 an hour for everyone aged 16 and over, and tackling high living costs, while strengthening our social security safety net and increasing childcare support.

Under the Tories, insecurity and inequality are rising. Labour will give Britain a pay rise.

Mark Jenkinson: We will increase the national living wage to £10.50/hour. We will not raise income tax, NI or VAT. We will increase the NI threshold, reducing the tax burden on working families. We will invest £1billion to create more high-quality, affordable childcare – including before and after school, and outside of term-time.

Jill Perry: Families with an income of under £50,000 per year will receive an additional supplement of £70 per week for each of their first two children and a further £50 per week for each additional child. We will increase the Living Wage to £12 and extending it to workers aged between 16 and 21.

David Walker: Our new contract delivers zero rate VAT on domestic fuel to reduce energy bills and we will campaign for a proper Brexit to reduce tariffs on certain foods, footwear and clothing.

Neil Hughes: £10b extra per annum for schools, benefits that make work pay, properly funded social care and childcare and a vastly improved, integrated public transport system. Also higher and further education more widely available.

Roy Ivinson: I would develop a zero-carbon economy and put West Cumbria at the forefront of that, with land-based wind turbines and a nuclear reactor.

Nicky Cockburn: Working families here often need to budget for, sometimes multiple vehicles to get to work or indeed anywhere. An increase in public transport would hopefully reduce the need for some of these vehicles. I would also make pre school and after school clubs tax deductible.