THE Labour Party candidate for Shropshire North, Graeme Currie, came in for some tough questioning when he attended the weekly Pints and Points of View meeting at the White Bear in Whitchurch.
He was asked about his views on health, zero hours employment, poverty, food banks, bedroom tax, fracking and energy, Trident, the EU, the terrorist threat, tax advantages for the rich, tax avoidance by offshore registered companies and the economy.
Mr Currie stressed the importance of Britain staying within the EU for trade and security reasons. He said to leave the EU would be a disaster for trade – for example companies like Grocontinental would lose their market freedoms, and security co-operation would be broken.
He said Labour would curb benefit migration by allowing claims only after two years.
He said he was deeply concerned that dependence on food banks had increased in Shropshire by 400pc in just one year, and he had seen increasing levels of child and family poverty here that he only ever witnessed in urban areas before.
Wage stagnation, zero hours contracts and the current unreliability of the restructuring of the welfare system were causing immense hardship, he said, adding that “the welloff” had increased their wealth so that the top 1pc now own 30pc of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
Mr Currie said he believed Labour would face a hard struggle if returned at the general election, but said the unswerving commitment to the traditional values of fairness and opportunity, for the many and not just the few, would form the basis of its policies during the building of a strong economic foundation.
Mr Currie came to Shropshire with his wife and family 12 years ago to take up a post as a Social Services manager based within the NHS Primary Care Trust.
He was made redundant in Shropshire Council’s cuts in 2011 and now works as an independent social worker in the West Midlands and as a visitor for the Court of Protection.
His ethical stance is based on Christian Socialism and he is passionate about Labour’s commitment to build a just society based on fairness, cooperation and mutual responsibility.