In the run-up to the General Election tomorrow, we have been giving all of the candidates in the two Oxford constituencies the opportunity to tell you, the electorate, why you should vote for them

David Henwood, Independent candidate for Oxford East

The Cowley Body Plant is the economic pulse of Oxford, supporting thousands of workers in the area. European investment has also underpinned scientific research and development both at the Oxford Science Park, and the numerous researchers that strive to develop medication to improve the life and well-being of millions worldwide. I will continue to lobby for the BMW Plant and its many staff for the best deal, and protect European investment.

After years of austerity under successive governments, the NHS is promised close to its recommended annual budget of £4bn. Consistency in the future funding of the NHS to improve both the economies of scale and the ability to manage, train and retain staff are imperative.

Consistency and sensible politics are key to stabilizing the country over the next few months; promises of nationalisation, should in my view, target underperforming companies in rail, water and electricity sectors. The logic of nationalising companies that are performing well is ludicrous; it would only serve to demoralise staff, undermine management and falter further development. The Conservative promise of 20,000 new police officers has to be welcomed, along with Labour’s £3.9bn investment into the NHS along with a 6% public pay rise. It is clear we desperately need a funding mechanism that provides consistency for our public services including education. If elected, I would campaign to develop funding mechanisms that protect these important services.

On climate, the Green Party clearly have a plan. I am vehemently opposed to building on the Oxford Green Belt or linking Oxford to Cambridge with an ill-conceived expressway; both would have an irreversible impact on our valued environment. If elected, I would campaign for the electrification of the current rail line including the Cowley Branch line, which I have lobbied long and hard for.

I pledge “Protect the Green belt, and develop Green Corridors”

The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) is an umbrella policy which all local district council planning policies must conform to. The NPPF only offers minimal guidelines on building insulation and sustainable design, and must be more ambitious in demanding higher sustainable standards. If elected, I would lobby for both new commercial and private builds to be carbon neutral incorporating a monitoring programme of carbon reduction or off-setting by planning officers.

Car size and power output need to be radically reduced similar to the Kei-Plate vehicles of Japan. Power units need to be truly sustainable options. A key ingredient to batteries is cobalt and lithium, which is mined in Australia and the Congo and has a negative impact upon those environments. An electric or battery power is a short term stepping stone but a more sustainable solution is needed. I will continue to lobby for more sustainable options with key stakeholders.

Linked to this is common view that the Trident nuclear missile system is a useless relic from the Cold War. The replacement costs of Trident amount to £205bn. Some argue that Trident is a deterrent; I argue a true deterrent is something that can be used. Modernising the Armed Forces is far more important. Trident is as useless as a chocolate tea pot. The budget from Trident could fund numerous domestic and foreign projects.

Having met many people in Oxford East with relatives in Kashmir, I believe a UN fact finding mission is needed. Since August the 8th this year, eight million people in the Jammu and Kashmir are living under curfew with no means of communication. This obviously has an impact on the area’s ability govern, and supply essential services.

Recently as chair of Oxford Labour group, I was proud to vote in favour of twinning Oxford with Ramallah in Palestine. Further humanitarian links with the region should be encouraged.