Jeremy David Brignell-Thorp – Green Party – Montgomeryshire and Glyndwr General Election 2024

 

This is a candidate page for the Montgomeryshire and Glyndwr constituency – the full list of candidates are: Jeremy David Brignell-Thorp, Oliver Lewis, Glyn Preston, Elwyn Vaughan, Craig Williams, Steve Witherden.

You can view our Election 2024 homepage here.

Q&A Responses:

1. What is the top issue that you feel the people of Montgomeryshire and Glyndwr will want you to represent them on, and what is your position on it?

My top issue would be the NHS. The NHS is in crisis at the moment, ambulances queueing outside hospitals, enormous waiting lists, no access to NHS dentists.
The Green Party is the only party that has the courage to say that the only solution is to put more money into the NHS, and this would be funded by a new tax on wealth that would only affect the very richest.
I am sure that there are inefficiencies in the NHS, but if these were easy to solve this would have been done by the Conservatives in England, or the Labour administration in Wales, so while we would commit to trying to make the NHS more efficient, but we cannot rely on finding cash this way to solve the present problems.
So the simple decision is either we leave the NHS in its present state of collapse, or we invest more in the NHS and raise a bit more tax to do this. Nobody likes tax, but if that is what it takes to make the NHS fit for purpose again that is what we must do. The immediate priorities are to bring down waiting lists, to make it easier to get a GP appointment, and to make it easier to access a NHS dentist.
The NHS is a devolved issue so the most that Westminster can do for the NHS in Wales is by the release of additional funds. It is up to Welsh Government how this is spent.

2. Cost of living is up, mortgages are up, food prices are up, energy costs are up, rent is up – all with inflation still increasing. What can you practically do as an MP to help people in Montgomeryshire and Glyndwr in the future?

One of the biggest costs, especially for those on lowest incomes, is rent. The Green Party proposes to bring in rent controls so that local authorities could control rents to prevent excessive rises.
In addition, energy costs are spiralling out of control. The Green Party would roll out a programme of energy efficiency improvements in housing, both owner/occupier and rental, to bring down energy costs and make energy bills more affordable. This would also have the benefit of creating thousands of new well-paid skilled retrofit jobs in the growing green industries, and would also ease pressure on the NHS by reducing the health issues of living in damp cold housing.
We would also push to increase the minimum wage up to £15 per hour. Inequality is growing in the UK and there is a need to address this unfairness in society.

3. Social housing wait lists are high, private home ownership is more and more unattainable with more people in their 20s and 30s still living at home with their parents. In your view, how can this be resolved?

There are various solutions that we could offer.
Firstly, the Green Party would address the issue of houses being lost to residents by becoming holiday homes. We would enable local authorities to more easily place a council tax premium on second homes so that many of these would be returned to the residential sector.
There are also many buildings in town centres, such as the upper floors of shops or no long needed office buildings, that could be turned into residential properties. We would encourage and incentivise redundant commercial buildings to be converted into homes.
Again of course housing is a devolved issue so is more under the control of the Welsh government rather than Westminster.

4. Young people are often an afterthought during election cycles and after years of disrupted education, including closure of youth facilities and lack of mental health support. What do you think needs to be put into place to support young people and how would you lobby for this if elected.

This is a problem that is now becoming very evident. School attendance rates are still well down compared to the rates before Covid, and mental health services are massively stretched, meaning that young people are having to wait far too long for medical assessment and any support when it comes is too late for them to rescue their lost teenage years.
Part of the problem is that for many teenagers, the current education system does not meet their needs. For many, traditional education seems out of touch with how they view the world. There need to be more options to cater for different types of learner. The Green Party advocates for there to be the option for students to opt for more vocational and practical style learning, from age 14 rather than from age 16 as at present, and this may offer some of the students that are now disengaging with education a route with more meaning and purpose.
The Welsh curriculum also offers exciting opportunities for school to be made more relevant to real life and I would encourage schools to make full use of these opportunities.

5. Health is devolved, but there is a link to Westminster and England in many ways. People are waiting longer for GP appointments, hospital waiting times have risen, staff are poorly paid and overworked. In your opinion, how do you think the issues in the NHS need addressing

Part of the problem is the decline of public health in the UK, over the last 10 years, demands on the NHS have been rising because of increase obesity, increased consumption of ultra processed foods, lack of exercise. Many of these symptoms would be addressed by measures that are part of our proposals for a more sustainable society. These include creating better infrastructure for active travel, addressing the national diet by promoting a move away from processed foods towards fresh and unprocessed foods, and encouraging exercise.
But the NHS also needs more resources. Over the last decade, the UK has spent about a fifth less per person on health services than the average in Europe. We can either decide to have more tax cuts, or we can decide we want a better NHS, we can’t have both, and I think that most people would prefer a better NHS. The Green Party reluctantly accepts that some more tax does need to be raised but our proposal is that the main way of doing this is via a wealth tax, and this would only apply to the very richest, so would start with a 1% tax on assets for anyone owning over £10m in assets. This would therefore not affect anyone at the moment that is struggling with the cost of living crisis or struggling to pay fuel bills.

6. How do you think climate change will affect Montgomeryshire and Glyndwr in the future, and what as a local MP can you do on the matter?

Wales will be one of the last countries to be directly affected. The impact for us will to begin with it becoming more expensive to import food, as the counties that we do import food from becoming too dry for production. This will start to affect much of the Mediterranean and in North Africa.
This will lead to food shortages, and of course the humanitarian issues around food and water for those living in those countries. This will in turn lead to a global refugee crisis as those populations living in these first affected countries seek somewhere habitable where they can settle.
What can a local MP do on the matter? The crisis will be global, no country will be able to avoid the consequences, so what is needed is international cooperation to come to international agreements to reduce carbon emissions and to keep to them. There need to be countries willing to lead from the front. The UK was originally taking this role but has dropped back. We may not have a very large proportion of the global carbon emissions (2%) but the UK still hold influence in the world and our action will encourage other countries to act.
So what a local MP can do is to be part of the pressure in Westminster to press whatever government we have in place to take more ambitious action.
The advantage of the UK taking the lead here is that we can be at the forefront of many of the technologies that are needed as part of the solution and the growth in these green technologies will be good for our economy going forward.

7. Do you think migration is a big issue to the people of Montgomeryshire and Glyndwr, and if so, why? Summarise your views.

Migration is not such a big issue here as in other parts of the UK, but is still an issue. We are not close to the locations where migrants tend to enter the country and so we have fewer seeking refuge here, but we have historically seen fewer people of foreign extraction living in Wales, and the lack of familiarity sometimes leads to fear or distrust.
I believe we must act with compassion towards all people in need, and should at the same time have a fair asylum process that discriminates between economic migrants and genuine refugees. In the case of genuine refugees fleeing war or terror, we need to work with the international community to establish safe routes, so that people trafficking is ended and that we offer fair refuge in the UK for these most in need.
What is needed is a fair, just, transparent and efficient asylum process and we would work with the international community to achieve this.

8. What are your views on the current devolution arrangements from Westminster to Cardiff, and what change if any, would you support?

The present arrangement of devolution appears to be working well. The Welsh government has proven itself to be responsible in many areas, such as developing the Well-being of Future Generations Act and our now world beating Recycling record under which Wales is now ranked 2nd best globally for recycling. The Welsh Government has also shown more willingness to be open minded to changing with the times, for instance the element of proportional representation in the Senedd elections, and reducing the voting age to 16.
Some issues are more controversial. I realise many people believe that the NHS in Wales is not as good as the NHS in England, and this may be right. When allocating funding to the devolved regions it is not easy to determine what the right level of funding is for different regions, for instance how to compensate fairly for the sparce population in Wales and many people in Wales believe that the funding formula disadvantages Wales.
For the devolved regions to work properly the allocation of funding from Westminster must be fair, transparent and non-political, and it is time for this to be reviewed to make sure this is still the case.

9. What is your view on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and what future path would you like the UK Parliament to take?

The Ukraine situation is very worrying both because of the high loss of life, and the risk of this escalating into a world war. The UK needs to play its part in de-escalating this situation and preventing Russia from occupying Ukraine. The Green Party would support the approach of working closely with NATO to ensure there is a united international support for Ukraine.
One specific aspect of the conflict deserves a mention. Russia has been able to build its military power because of the foreign income it gets from selling oil and gas. The UK has rightly stopped buying oil and gas direct from Russia, but we are still trading with countries that are buying Russian oil and gas, and we are even still buying petroleum products made from Russian oil that has been processed in third party countries. The UK should impose a more wide-reaching sanction on Russia, to include making sure that we do not buy any products that originated in Russia, and to insert more diplomatic pressure, including sanctions, on countries that continue to buy Russia oil and therefore continue to fund the Russian military.

10. Finally, Trust in politics is at an all time low. How will you engage with residents if elected and work to rebuild that trust and more importantly, why should voters put their faith in you?

It is understandable that many people have this view. The adage “power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely” definitely has some truth in it. I believe that most people enter politics with good intentions, wanting to help their fellow citizens and the different parties are just different interpretations of the best way doing this. But over time some become led astray, perhaps by living within the echo chamber which is party politics.
One solution might be to limit the length of time that a person can remain in a position of responsibility, and the rule in the United States of limiting a president to 8 years is one small but sensible safeguard that we should adopt here for senior politicians.
I hope that my record of being involved with many not-for-profit social enterprises over the last 15 years, many in a voluntary role, demonstrates my commitment to community. Sorting the waste and recycling, including picking the stray plastic plates and cutlery out of the food waste collected from the public events in Montgomery is a task I am regularly seen doing and I hope that by continuing to roll up my sleeves in this way helps to rebuild faith in the political system.

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