Election 2017: Labour will fight the ‘gig economy’, fiddling taxes and dirty air

PUBLISHED: 13:45 18 May 2017 | UPDATED: 13:45 18 May 2017

Jane Berney

Jane Berney

Archant

The Labour candidate for Saffron Walden, who will be standing against Conservative’s Kemi Badenoch now Sir Alan Haselhurst has stepped down after 40 years, will be Jane Berney who has lived in Saffron Walden for more than 20 years.

She stood against Sir Alan at the general election in 2015 when the Labour Party came third.

An accountant, who has two sons – one at university and one at school – she is also a remainer.

Mrs Berney said: “If the EU has its problems, we are better in there solving them. It protects the rights of working people, we are naturally stronger in a group and the EU is our biggest trading partner.”

On policies, Mrs Berney, who has a degree in history from Manchester University, says: “We are here for the many rather than the few. We will get rid of zero hours contracts. The gig economy is just exploitation.”

On taxes, she says it is a matter of fair shares. “If you are on PAYE, you can’t fiddle the system but the bosses can. Instead of benefitting the privileged few, we will work for the common good.”

Another issue on the Labour agenda is clean air. “That benefits everybody and the new technology will create jobs, we want clear air and cheaper energy.

“We are also against the back door privatisation of the NHS. We want to improve social care for the elderly. The system needs to be reviewed. I know from the experience of my own parents and in-laws that older people stay in hospital longer than they need to.

“Health and social care need to be one organisation. Mental health patients are moved from pillar to post. They need intervention and help before they reach crisis point.”

She says on the EU negotiations, Jeremy Corbyn has a less confrontational approach than Theresa May.

“She has put people’s backs up from the start. We are in favour of respect for other people’s views.”

And on Corbyn’s sometimes weak image with the public, she says: “This is not a presidential election. There will be a cabinet and the civil service. Jeremy will work alongside them.”

Saffron Walden is one of Britain’s safest Tory seats, but says Mrs Berney: “It’s important for people to have a choice.

“Whoever gets in, there will be a lot of people who have voted Labour and Liberal and the winning candidate can’t ignore us. We will still be their constituents.”

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