Sarah Atherton – Welsh Conservatives – Wrexham General Election 2024

This is a candidate page for the Wrexham constituency – the full list of candidates are: Paul Ashton, Sarah Atherton, Charles Dodman, Becca Martin, Andrew Ranger, Tim Sly, Tim Morgan.

You can view our Election 2024 homepage here.

Provided bio:

I’m not a career politician, far from it. After leaving school I served in the Army Intelligence Corps. Upon leaving I trained and worked as a nurse at Wrexham Maelor Hospital, later specialising as a District Nurse. I then qualified as a social worker, focusing on older adults and mental health, particularly dementia care, spending over 27 years in the state sector. I also set up a microbrewery, becoming a small business owner and was elected as a community councillor, quickly building a reputation for straight talking and delivery. For many of these years, I was a single parent, so understand how difficult it is to juggle parenting, working and finances.

In Westminster, I served on the Defence Committee and was Minister for Defence People and Veterans.

I also led the groundbreaking inquiry into the experiences of women in the military. This has transformed the lived military experience of our service women, forcing the Ministry of Defence to modernise how they treat service personnel and their families.

Locally, in the past four and half years I have:

  • Brought in over £203 million of UK Government investment directly into Wrexham, this includes a £160m Wrexham Investment Zone, £23m Shared Prosperity Fund and £20m Towns Fund.
  • Delivered Wrexham ‘City’ Status.
  • Completed over 17,000 pieces of casework, helping the people and businesses of Wrexham.
  • Facilitated over £415,000 funding for local charities and good causes.
  • Delivered £500,000 Safer Streets funding for more city centre CCTV and local schemes to protect women and girls.
  • Secured the future of Hightown Barracks, twinning Wrexham with HMS Dragon.
  • Successfully lobbied for a Civil Service hub in Wrexham with 300 extra Civil Service jobs.
  • Returned to the ward at the Maelor to nurse during covid and donated my salary to charity.

If re-elected, I will:

  1. Continue to act as a robust advocating voice for constituents, businesses, striving only for the best of Wrexham and its people.

  2. Continue to scrutinise and challenge the Welsh Labour Government on their 25 years of mismanagement of our public services – health, education, farming and transport.

  3. Lobby the Welsh Labour Government on the need for a new state-of-the-art hospital for Wrexham and a UK-led inquiry into Betsi Cadwalladr Health Board.

  4. Continue to call for the scrapping of the Welsh Labour Government’s ludicrous 20 mph blanket anti-car, anti-driver policy.

  5. Call for the scrapping of the Welsh Labour Government’s imposed 8,000 house Local Development Plan, without having the necessary infrastructure in place, first.

Welsh Labour never takes responsibility for its failing performance, preferring to blame others, namely Westminster – despite receiving the largest funding settlement since devolution. Instead of prudent spending, they waste money on policies like giving illegal immigrants £19,000 per year, spending £120 million on increasing the number of politicians in the Senedd and £40 million on slowing Wales down to 20mph; all whilst presiding over the worst health outcomes and educational attainment levels in the UK.

A vote for Labour at this election will cost you deeply. This vote is about the future of Wrexham and a vote for any other party will hand Starmer the keys to Downing Street and a blank cheque.

We have come so far together. Vote Atherton on 4th July to continue this progress and secure a bright future for you and your family.

Q&A Responses….

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

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?

Health is a DEVOLVED issue and is managed by the Welsh LABOUR Government in Cardiff. Since devolution began, Labour has overseen a terrible decline in the NHS in Wales. Labour is the only administration to have ever cut an NHS budget, which they now underfund by £500 million. This has resulted in the worst A&E performance, the worst ambulance response times and the worst surgery and cancer treatment waiting times in the UK. This is despite Welsh Labour receiving the largest funding settlement since devolution began.
As a nurse who returned to the wards during COVID (donating my salary to charity), I know how Labour-run health services consistently fail our community and clinicians, offering hollow promises instead of real improvements. Over the past 5 years, I have supported over 17,000 constituents with their health and social care related casework. I’ve also helped secure funding for a Veterans Care Co-ordinator at the Maelor, delivered extended funding for the Metastatic Cancer Nurse at the Shooting Star unit, supported the great work of our clinicians, such as the Health Board’s Thrombosis Team, the Plas Gororau project and the Pre-habitation scheme. I’ve also been a constant supporter of the Wrexham Prostate Support Group and the Maelor Voluntary Service.
There’s so much more to do to overcome the Cardiff Labour decline. If re-elected, I will continue to fight for a new hospital, improved parking, and a permanent Metastatic Cancer Nurse. I’m also calling for an action-focused, UK-led inquiry into our Health Board. My goal is to ensure that the Welsh Government allocates funds effectively and stops wasting money to give Wrexham the health service we deserve and pay for.

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 Wrexham with this in the future?

Following a global pandemic and Putin’s weaponization of energy prices, bills inevitably increased but the Conservative Government has worked hard to reduce and stabilise inflation from a peak of 11% down to 2%. That’s a start, but pressure on purses still remain high. The UK Conservative Government has provided significant support to families and businesses, with over £66 million provided for Wrexham alone, to support residents through these cost of living challenges. I have helped hundreds of constituents with financial and housing issues and supported the establishment and expansion of the Rosset Food Cupboard. After my persistent lobbying of civil servants, Wrexham was a pilot area for one of the UK Government’s energy support schemes. I also regularly met with Treasury officials to ensure that fuel duty remained frozen and beer duty was cut. It was particularly important to me that Wrexham also received Furlough, Business, Self-Employed and Bounce Back Schemes during the pandemic.

As for Labour in Wales, they have neglected local businesses and hammering them by slashing relief for business rates from 75% to 40%. Labour also waste taxpayers’ money by £40 million on an unwanted 20mph policy and £120 million on more Senedd members, they underfund councils forcing a 10% council tax increase in Wrexham.

The UK Government has given the Welsh Government the largest funding settlement since devolution began, 20% more than England receives, UK Labour have not been shy in saying they will increase taxes, and if Welsh Labour are anything to go by, your costs will go up rather than down under a Labour government!

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

Again, Housing is a DEVOLVED issue and is managed by the Welsh LABOUR Government in Cardiff. With thousands of people on Wrexham Council’s housing waiting list, availability of housing is a major problem. Labour’s Rent Smart Wales has imposed restrictions on landlords, which in Wrexham has meant many landlords have sold-up, reducing housing availability and increasing rents – yet another Labour policy that has backfired.

I’ve lobbied hard against Welsh Labour on their phosphate policy, which saw all building cease in Wrexham for over 2 years. However, Labour’s response to yet another own goal was to impose the Local Development Plan, which isn’t fit for purpose. It will see 8,000 houses built, on green fields, in Wrexham, without having the necessary infrastructure – doctors, schools, roads, flood prevention in place first. Whilst more housing is needed having sufficient infrastructure in place is essential. Perhaps most importantly, people need to be able to afford to buy new homes, and the Conservatives have pledged to implement a new Help to Buy scheme in addition to the existing Mortgage Guarantee Scheme.

4. Young people are often an afterthought during election cycles and after years of disrupted education, along with closure of youth facilities and lack of mental health support. What do you think needs to be put into place to support them?

Again, Education and Community Services are DEVOLVED issues and are managed by the Welsh LABOUR Government in Cardiff. The pandemic was especially difficult for young people, especially with their education and impact on their mental health. Labour have slashed the education budget leading to increased class sizes, decreased extracurricular activities, and reduced support services for students. The Welsh Labour Government has taken a decision that has harmed educational attainment standards, with Wales being at the bottom of UK rankings. Labour is failing our young people!

I’ve been working hard to fill in the gaps left by Labour, including supporting hundreds of families and young people with casework on school admissions, transport, special needs requirements and mental health support across education. On top of this, I’ve supported numerous local schools secure much needed grant funding options to fill Labour’s financial black holes.
I secured £500,000 from the UK Government Shared Prosperity Fund for ‘We Mind the Gap’s’ initiative to ‘Change Young Lives’. During this project, 1000 young people from Wrexham were asked about their priorities for their future. We’ve heard you loud and clear. If re-elected I’ll work with the UK Government and Welsh Government to achieve these recommendations.

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

Again, environmental policies and Farming are DEVOLVED issues and managed by the Welsh LABOUR Government in Cardiff. Our green spaces are our pride and joy in Wrexham and environmental measures, combating climate change and securing our environment for the next generation starts at a local level. Over the past five years, I’ve helped to raise thousands of pounds to support sustainable local projects and worked with groups, such as Holt Community Gardeners, Wrexham Litter Pickers, Erlas Gardens and Rossett Food Cupboard. It’s crucial to safeguard our environment for future generations, but we must balance environmental strategies with economic realities. Green policies should not financially overburden families and small businesses (as per question 2).
This balance is evident with our Welsh Farmers, who are suffering due to Welsh Labour Government’s Sustainable Farming Scheme; which mandates that 20% of farming land be used for re-wilding. This is economically impacting our farmers and increasing food prices. It’s a balance that Labour is failing to deliver.
Wrexham needs a strong advocate to challenge the Welsh Labour Government, while promoting pragmatic, sustainable environmental strategies. I will continue to be that robust voice for our community.

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

Migration is one of the most important issues for the people of Wrexham, as it is for me. In my time as the Member of Parliament, I twice fought off an immigration hostel in the constituency. I supported the Rwanda plan, and although I would have liked tougher action, it is a clear plan to deter illegal migration and stop dangerous boat crossings.
While I have supported the need for legal migration, particularly in the health and social care sector in Wrexham, the end goal should ultimately be that we train, recruit, and retain British workers in these sectors by improving their terms and conditions.
Meanwhile, Welsh Labour have declared Wales a Nation of Sanctuary and want to give £19,000 per year to illegal immigrants – that’s more than the State Pension and will only incentivise further illegal migration to the UK. This is simply unsustainable.
The Conservatives are committed to stopping the boats and deterring illegal migration with the Rwanda plan, which is now being copied by other countries across the world. On the other hand, Labour has shown that they have no plan. Instead, they want to scrap the Rwanda policy and have voted over 130 times against toughening immigration laws.

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

In every area of devolution, the Welsh Labour Government has failed the people of Wrexham. On issues such as healthcare, transport, education and housing, the Welsh Government has not used the powers at their disposal to deliver for Wrexham and refuses to take responsibility for their decisions.
The Welsh Labour Government has received the largest funding settlement since devolution began. However, time and time again, Labour waste taxpayers’ money on vanity projects and prioritise spending in South Wales, whilst places like Wrexham miss out.
I am open to a frank discussion on whether devolution is working for Wrexham and North Wales. No further policies should be given to the Senedd until they prove that they are able to deliver on the powers they already have.
For 20 years, Wrexham was neglected under a Labour MP and the Welsh Labour Government. Wrexham needs a Conservative MP to ensure that the Welsh Government in Cardiff is held to account. Voting for a Labour MP on 4th July will simply open the door for Wrexham to be neglected and taken for granted once again.

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

Having served in the army in the 80’s, I was a ‘Cold War Warrior’. I know what it is like to serve our country and am proud to be a veteran. As a result, I have spent the last four and a half years in Parliament passionate about defence. I have been a Minister at the Ministry of Defence and served on the Defence Select Committee since my election in 2019.
The war in Ukraine, the conflict between Israel and Hamas as well as the rising tensions between China and Taiwan means that the world has not been this unstable since World War Two. The UK’s defence is more important than ever.
Putin’s illegal invasion will not stop at the borders of Ukraine. There is war in Europe and Ukraine are fighting on our behalf. I am proud that the UK is leading the way globally, and has provided over £12 billion of aid to Ukraine since Putin’s invasion in 2022.
Our commitment to Ukraine must remain unwavering, as it has been under the UK Conservative Government. We need to be realistic about the future risks to our nation. However, Labour won’t commit to raising the defence budget to 2.5% of GDP within the foreseeable future. To make matters worse, 13 members of Labour’s front bench voted against the UK’s nuclear deterrent. In these dangerous and unstable times, you need to ask yourself if Labour is truly committed to our nation’s defence?

10.) Finally, it feels trust in politics is at an all time low. How will you rebuild that trust, and why should voters put their faith in you?

I am not a career politician. I was a single mother on benefits and, prior to being MP, I worked as a nurse, social worker and was a small business owner. I know how hard life can be. That is why I got into politics, because I didn’t see anyone like me who understood the issues I faced.
All politicians, regardless of party affiliation make mistakes. They are humans; however, I sympathise with people not knowing which party is telling the truth but I hope constituents will judge me on my track record.
People may not agree with everything I have done or voted on, but I have always put Wrexham first and fought for our people, our businesses and our communities at the highest levels of Government. If the people of Wrexham re-elect me on July 4th, I will continue be a champion for Wrexham and everyone who lives here.

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