Labour leader Ed Miliband visited Lincoln to address voters’ concerns ahead of the general election in May on Tuesday, February 17.
The leader of the Opposition held his ‘People’s Question Time’ talk with invited audience members at The Showroom on Tritton Road.
The question and answer session in Lincoln was one of a number of similar events held by Miliband across the country in recent months as part of his efforts to have a ‘genuine conversation’ and open a ‘direct dialogue’ with voters away from the Westminster bubble.
Over one hundred people were in attendance, questioning him on issues ranging from tuition fees, the benefits system, food banks and the recent anti-semitic attacks across Europe.
After the event, Miliband, addressed how he will support existing businesses in the city and ensure that Lincoln rail passengers get the best quality service following the re-privatisation of East Coast mainline.
He said: “We’ll cut business rates for small firms in Lincoln. This, and making sure there’s a skilled workforce and making sure we stay in the European Union are the kind of policies that will help businesses in Lincoln.
“It was the wrong decision to re-privatise East Coast – it should have stayed in public hands. We want more of a role for the public sector in our railways and we’ll make sure we have a proper fare cap for passengers.”
The Lincolnite readers also had their questions answered.
Reader Mark Barnes asked how Miliband plans to change the education system to aid underachievers and not just focus on the high achievers.
In response, the Labour leader said: “We’ve got to have an education system that caters to everybody.
“We also need to be providing proper vocational training for our young people. The 50% of people who do not go to university have been ignored for too long.”
When asked about how Labour looks at immigration, he said: “We’ve got a clear plan to control immigration with fair rules. When people come here they won’t get benefits for the first two years and we’ve also said we’ll stop employers exploiting migrant labour and undercutting wages.
“The election in May is not a choice between two leaders or two parties. It’s about different visions for our country.
“David Cameron thinks that wealth will magically trickle down from the richest in society and from the City of London. However, the recovery has not reached ordinary people’s kitchen tables.
“Unlike him, I believe that everyone is a wealth creator and, as such, they need to share in the rewards from society.”