Skip to content

Ask the candidates 2015: James Wright, Labour

Earlier this month we asked for your questions to put to the candidates standing for election next week in Altrincham and Sale West. We received well over 50 in total, and have pruned them down to a final selection of 15, chosen so as to provide the candidates with a broad mix of local and national

Earlier this month we asked for your questions to put to the candidates standing for election next week in Altrincham and Sale West. We received well over 50 in total, and have pruned them down to a final selection of 15, chosen so as to provide the candidates with a broad mix of local and national issues.

Each day this week we’ll be publishing the answers to those question as given (in reverse order of the result of their party in the 2010 election) by Nick Robertson-Brown of the Green Party, Labour Party candidate James Wright, Liberal Democrat candidate Jane Brophy and the incumbent MP, Graham Brady for the Conservatives.

Today, it’s the turn of Labour candidate James Wright.


1. Altrincham market area is fabulous! However, the smaller shop units in town centre are unsustainable for small businesses due to ridiculous high rents and unfeasibly high business rates. What are your plans to change this? (Submitted by Tilly Wine)

James Wright: I agree, the new Market House is a wonderful addition to Altrincham Town Centre and has become a real attraction for the town. It is true that business rates have proven a real challenge for small businesses in recent years – this has not been helped by the Government delay to the revaluation exercise that should have taken place during the last parliament.

I want to see the revaluation process take place as soon as possible during the next parliament as this will help many small businesses in the Altrincham and Sale West area.

2. What is your view on the most appropriate way to manage MPs’ expenses, and should MPs be subject to more lenient guidelines than anyone else? (Tom Barton)

James Wright: Before I moved into my current housing career I worked for an MP, I have therefore seen first-hand the way MPs’ expenses are now managed via IPSA. I do believe IPSA has made the expenses system more transparent and open to scrutiny and I do not believe MPs should be subject to more leniency.

3. Should we continue to give financial aid to countries that do not feed their people but have nuclear weapons? (Taxi Mike)

James Wright: I believe overseas aid is an absolutely essential way of helping fight poverty across the world, preventing hunger and delivering services to people who would otherwise not have them. Under Labour, Britain will return to its status as a world leader on international development and at the same time promoting equality for women, disabled people and LGBT and indigenous communities.

However, I do agree overseas aid must get to the people who need it and we must have conditions placed upon countries to make sure they act in the interests of their own people.

4. Do you think the pensions’ budget, which absorbs considerably more of the Department of Work & Pensions’ budget than welfare, should be reduced? (James Harper)

James Wright: I work in welfare rights for a large social housing provider. This government’s welfare reforms have caused untold misery and hardship for many people across the UK and hundreds in this constituency. However, I do not believe we should or can reduce the pension’s budget as a whole.

What Labour has promised is to protect the value of the state pension with a triple lock but we have also said we will not continue to pay winter fuel payments to the richest 5% of pensioners in a time of cuts and austerity.

5. What do the you feel about the fact that since the last election we now have people in the constituency who have to resort to using food banks to feed themselves (and their families) and what will their party do to help those on low incomes, particularly children living in poverty? (Gwyneth Brock)

James Wright: I personally hand out on average 10 food bank vouchers per week to people across the North West, including people in Sale and Altrincham. It’s an absolute disgrace that people rely on food banks to feed their children in the seventh richest country on earth. Labour will increase the minimum wage, freeze energy prices, scrap the failed and immoral bedroom tax and review the sanction first, question later approach adopted by Iain Duncan-Smith and his DWP colleagues.

6. Would you do anything to save the 360 acres of Davenport Green earmarked to be built upon? (Pete Hughes)

James Wright: I know that protecting Davenport Green has been a concern of local residents for over 20 years. It is important that we protect green spaces and I would be keen to meet with local residents involved to discuss this situation and how best I could help if elected MP.

7. Do you agree that there is a dire need for an A56 bypass, especially as yet another supermarket is to open in Broadheath? (Pete Hughes)

James Wright: The A56 is an incredibly congested road and I use it every day for work. If elected, I would press for a solution to the congestion on both accessibility and environmental grounds.

8. When will Altrincham FC finally stop playing second fiddle to the ice hockey teams who get council funding, whilst the true local sports team get none? (Jay Jackson)

James Wright: As a huge football fan and a Wolverhampton Wanderers supporter for my sins, I would absolutely fight for a fair deal for Altrincham FC. It would also be great to see them back playing league football in the not too distant future.

9. Do you consider yourself to be a feminist? (Abi Richardson)

James Wright: Yes. I firmly believe in women’s rights and recently wrote to Vince Cable in his capacity as business secretary demanding companies publish their pay gap between men and women.

10. Should consumers be protected from further energy price rises? (Sue Greenstreet)

James Wright: Absolutely they should and Labour will freeze energy prices until 2017 and give the regulator the power to cut bills this winter.

11. As a governor of a local school I can state categorically that schools funding HAS NOT been protected. Budget cuts and additional expenses regarding staffing amount to approximately 10 teachers’ salaries. How do you propose that our schools be protected in order that we can continue to deliver the excellent standards of education we are noted for in Trafford? (Sue Greenstreet)

James Wright: As the husband of a secondary school teacher and the governor of an infant’s school in Sale, I have also seen first hand what the damaging cuts the Tories implemented have had on schools. The number of infants in classes of over 30 is up 200% and this government has spend £241m on free schools in areas that already have enough school places.

Labour will protect the entire education budget from early years right through to 19. We will also guarantee that all teachers in state schools are fully qualified, something that isn’t the case right now under this government.

12. Why are our green bins demanded every week? We recycle as much as we can and still don’t fill it week on week. That means a dirty great dumpster trawling the streets for nothing, and lots of families making extra trips to the ‘recycling centre’ (tip). How is that ‘green’ or even sensible? (Chris Hanley)

James Wright: I agree and we don’t as a family of three, fill our green bin in three weeks let alone one!

13. What do you think should happen to the big eyesore that is the old McDonalds? (Adam Wilkinson)

James Wright: It concerns me that around 7 years after it was vacated by McDonalds, the building remains empty. The building is situated at a key point in the town – you could say it forms part of the gateway into the town centre. I would not want to see the building demolished as I believe it has some character.

But clearly the Council need to be more proactive and creative in helping bring the site back into use, along with the former Pizza Hut restaurant next door.

14. Do you support HS2? If it was scrapped, what would you spend the £50bn on instead? (Richard Smith)

James Wright: The Labour Party supports HS2. However, the Altrincham and Sale West Labour Party locally called for a review of the Labour party position on HS2 in July 2013 and requested that we consider an alternative use of the budget for improving broader transport infrastructure.

15. What would you say to encourage the 32% of local electorate who didn’t vote last time, to vote this time? (Jamie Murphy)

James Wright: I say it’s your democratic right to vote. No matter who you support, what your views are or whether you support me or my party, please use your vote. They say a week is a long time in politics, well five years is a lifetime!

For more on the Labour Party’s policies, view its 2015 manifesto here.

Tomorrow: Jane Brophy, Liberal Democrats