VIDEO ELECTION INTERVIEW: Rebecca Novell, Lancaster and Fleetwood
The Green Party candidate for Lancaster and Fleetwood said seeing the impact of benefit changes on families is what convinced her to stand as an MP.
Rebecca Novell, a Lancaster City Councillor and manager of the Marsh Community Centre, said the new Universal Credit system is “shambolic”.
She said families are being plunged into “dire straits”, and that in-work poverty is a major issue.
She said the Green Party would introduce a Universal Basic Income to replace Universal Credit, so that people had enough to pay their bills, and are able to look after children or elderly relatives, or study or learn a new trade.
“The number of families who are in work but can’t budget from one month to another because of how bad the Universal Credit system is, is unacceptable,” she said.
“We’re devastated by what the Conservatives have done to this country over the last seven years, and we don’t want to see a continuation of that.
“I find it darkly comic that we’re spending millions to implement Universal Credit.
“If you divide that up between everyone in the country, that’s £400 per month each.
“We’d want more than that for Universal Basic Income and we’d do it by raising corporation tax and scrapping trident.”
Ms Novell said she would campaign to reduce the number of NEETs - young people not in education, employment or training - in the Lancaster district.
She believes in de-crimimalising drugs and that a new approach to dealing with crime, and the causes of it, are necessary to improve outcomes and reduce the burden on prisons.
She said: “We’re not soft on crime, but if you want to be tough on crime, you’ve got to put yourself in that difficult place of giving people second chances. “Locking someone in a room is more likely to make that person re-offend.”
She said any development as part of the Canal Corridor in Lancaster should be the creation of an Arts Quarter, which she said will bring in more tourism.
She said: “The Green Party want to abolish the expansion of Heathrow and use that money to invest in public transport. We need buses and rail back in public ownership, and more routes for walking, and we need more green spaces.”
On fracking, she said: “The government overturning the (Lancashire County Council) decision on fracking is an assault to democracy.
We said no - and they’ve completely ignored us.”
She said proportional representation is “important to have accurate representation in Parliament”.
She said: “It does feel like a broken system. You always hear ‘It’s a wasted vote’ but people shouldn’t feel that way about their democracy.
She added: “The most pressing issue has to be what is happening to the NHS. It’s one of the greatest institutions in the world and we’re letting it go.”
And on Brexit: “The Green Party support a ratification once the details of the deal are spelled out. The country should get a vote on it.”