WE asked the candidates who are standing for the Penrith and Solway constituency in the upcoming General Election to reveal their top three priorities and one policy commitment.

Here's what they had to say...

Mark JenkinsonMark Jenkinson (Image: Supplied)

Mark Jenkinson (Conservative)

Underlining each of our local issues, which vary greatly across the constituency, is connectivity – be that digital or physical. It leads to fractured services, and widely different experiences by service users; It leads to unavoidably small hospitals and schools; And it reduces opportunity for career progression. It takes a strong voice to stand up to Whitehall and make the case for investment. I have been that strong voice.

We’re making progress. And if you vote to continue that progress, my contract with you is clear - I will continue to be your voice.

My record speaks for itself: I’ve attracted over £1bn in public and private investment into North and West Cumbria since 2019. We’ve started the job of reversing decades of Labour’s managed decline.

We’re installing Hyperfast Broadband across the county; We’re investing hundreds of £millions through our councils for road maintenance and local transport priorities, and in local bus services,

We’re investing in our NHS, with a new Cancer Hospital in Carlisle; a new medical school training our new doctors; new Community Diagnostic Centres to speed up diagnosis, and a full rebuild of West Cumberland Hospital. We’ve invested in our schools – refurbishing, extending and rebuilding across the patch.

I’m Cumbria’s man in Westminster, not the other way round. With me you get a proven track record of delivery, and a promise of much more.

Julia Aglionby Julia Aglionby (Image: Supplied)

Julie Aglionby (Liberal Democrat) 

Let’s enable our fantastic communities thrive- I call this Project Hope. Over recent weeks I’ve cycled 300 miles across Penrith & Solway meeting inspiring enterprises, community groups and speaking to many individual voters. Together they knit together our community. Sadly, too often red tape and changing government policy are holding back local ambition.  The increase in costs is hitting farming and hospitality businesses alike.

Most Cumbrian enterprises are family businesses, but an increasing number of pubs and shops are becoming community owned. Charities such as Northern Fells Group and Eden Valley Hospice are filling the gap where public services have been cut back. All these organisations need to be profitable if they can employ people and serve their communities.

My priorities for Cumbria are: 

  1. Everyone can afford a decent well insulated home. 
  2. Everyone has good social care at home and access to high-quality healthcare and dentistry. 
  3. Everyone has an inspiring education to allow them to progress to a fulfilling job.

The policy I would introduce to deliver Project Hope is a Rural Communities Minister with local staff. They will break down the silos and join the dots between education, transport, recreation, well-being, farming, environment and business.  Together we can build healthier and happier communities in this beautiful county.

Markus Campbell- SavoursMarkus Campbell- Savours (Image: Supplied)

Markus Campbell- Savours (Labour)

NHS - Everywhere we go people tell us of their difficulty accessing GP and dental appointments, long waits in A&E and months waiting for surgery. Labour has a costed plan to fix the NHS plan, but locally I'll focus on ensuring we are training and recruiting the staff we need in Cumbria.

Immigration - after the NHS, this issue is raised more than any other. Most people support an asylum system that helps those from overseas, genuinely fleeing violence and persecution. They just don't believe our system is doing this fairly or effectively.

The Conservatives have failed and left a huge backlog of unprocessed asylum applicants. We'll give the immigration system the resources it needs, without gimmicks like the expensive Rwanda scheme. Our new Boarder Security Command will use counter terror powers to smash the criminal boat gangs.

Long term decisions on energy - our current energy costs crisis follows many years of failure plan for the future. Labour's plan to form GB Energy will create clean green power, owned by the public and will end our reliance on other countries and the risk posed by tyrants like Putin. New nuclear is key to delivering this plan.

Policy - A licensing scheme, to cap the number of holiday lets in each community.

Matthew Moody Matthew Moody (Image: Supplied)

Matthew Moody (Reform UK) 

I want Penrith and Solway to be a thriving area with high employment, improved housing stock and excellent education.

Anchored by Silloth, Mayport, Wigton, Keswick and Penrith, the area needs a reduction in youth migration with improved education, job prospects and housing options.

My priorities would be:

  1. Introducing new subsidised technical courses and apprenticeships focusing on farming, forestry, construction, and engineering
  2. Fast track housing choice bringing empty homes into use and new housing to drive growth and opportunity.
  3. Supporting smaller farms, reducing paperwork and scrapping climate related subsidies helping farmers produce more food.  Focusing on Buy British, Buy Quality, farmers receive better prices and college places means we ensure food security and future farming generations.

Reform UK would scrap renewal subsidies and net zero pledges on diesel and petrol cars, oil and gas boilers and get to work on utilising our natural resources and accelerating nuclear.

The key policy I’d introduce if elected would be to increase the tax threshold to £20,000 helping keep more money in your pocket and allowing you to spend more on local goods and services adding to a vibrant local economy.

This is a chance to vote for real change, use your vote wisely.

Chris JohnstonChris Johnston (Image: Supplied)

Chris Johnston (Independent) 

My priorities are to rebuild trust in politics and restore the idea that a government can work for the betterment of its people.

The division in Britain comes from the parties and not from our people.

We all want a better future for the next generation, a society that cares for its most vulnerable and puts more in than it takes out.

My main policy will ensure we can build that new system together.

By expanding the recall petition, we can ensure the representatives of our people must answer to the majority of this constituency and not just the vested interests or leaders of the parties.

It would make our democracy an ongoing process of refinement, instead of a vote once every 5 years.

Only by giving people a clear voice over who represents them, can we heal the divides caused by the Westminster parties and bring harmony to our country.

After the recent boundary changes, we have a blank page to write our future.

Not as a safe party seat, nor a marginal battleground but as a collaborative constituency that truly reflects its people.

Your vote is your voice, no-one can hear if you don't speak.

Shaun Long Shaun Long (Image: Supplied)

Shaun Long  (Social Democratic Party)

My three policy priorities for the residents of Penrith and Solway are as follows.

Firstly, I wish to secure the future of local livestock farming. Our farmers must be protected from predatory supermarket practices, spurious Net Zero challenges, and cheaper, lower-quality imports from overseas. Land-based education needs to be revived, and local authorities obliged to source from local agricultural producers wherever possible.

Secondly, the SDP will nurture family life through a fully shareable tax allowance for couples raising children, and such couples will be prioritised in the allocation of council and social housing. The overriding aim of our housing policy will be to enable young people seeking to start a family to find a suitable and affordable home.

Thirdly, we will pivot towards increased vocational training. A major focus of this will be the training and recruiting of our own health professionals, prepared by new specialist clinical universities. This will do away with the need for the looting of healthcare professionals from developing nations.

If I were to be elected, I would veto the forthcoming ban on oil boilers and solid-fuel heating systems, as these are the only viable options for people to heat their homes in rural off-grid areas.

Roy Ivinson Roy Ivinson (Image: Supplied)

Roy Ivinson (Independent) 

My policy is wind, railways, nuclear, carbon taxation = Zero carbon economy. The wind is our greatest asset it should belong to the local council who leases it out to wind operators for a percentage of electrical produce and sells it at a discount using the money to finance local services and abolish council tax. Immigration will be replaced with a work visa system ending permanent settlement.

Nuclear power is critical it is the most zero-carbon reliable source of power we have got. VAT will be replaced with a carbon tax to encourage reduced carbon emissions. Compulsory electric car ownership be scrapped as all it's going to do is drive people on low incomes pf the road. The railway lines we once had will be reinstated to create a comprehensive zero-carbon transportation system available to all. The religion of the state is Christianity.

Democracy the rule of the laws and separation of church and state are all produces of the teaching of Jesus Christ, this country should remain Christian at all costs. We need our farmers we are heading toward a global faming driven by man-made climate change, investment in British food production is a matter of life or death.

Susan Denham- Smith from the Green Party is also standing for Penrith and Solway in the General Election. She was approached for comment in this piece.