Ben Hickman is Labour’s candidate for the Canterbury North by-election on Nov 15.
Ben is a senior lecturer at the University of Kent, Director of its Centre for Modern Poetry, an organiser in the University & Colleges Union and local activist. He has lived in Canterbury for 10 years and chairs our CLP of over 1700 members.
He believes passionately that the austerity agenda being pursued by this government and Kent County Council not only needs to be stopped but reversed.
In this election Ben is fighting for:
The Tory run County Council has been complicit in a reorganisation of healthcare across Kent which promises ‘transformation’ but really means cuts. Canterbury has already lost its A&E and is at risk of being further downgraded.
Ben will be a strong voice on Kent County Council, working alongside Rosie Duffield to deliver a new hospital for Canterbury. The new hospital with full trauma services will make our town the centre of healthcare provision across East Kent. It will compliment the university’s new medical centre, attracting the best qualified staff.
Social Care in Kent is amongst the worst in the country. The Tories commission home help from over 150 different companies, making it impossible to deliver quality and consistent services. Labour would build a National Health and Care Service, capping contributions to residential accommodation and improving the funding and delivery of home care.
The Tories has been cutting essential bus services particularly to our village and country areas, and there is too much car traffic for a healthy environment. Ben will be demanding an integrated transport system between our rural areas and the city, with far more ‘hopper’ type electric buses and innovative forms of community transport for the villages.
Labour are fighting to reduce funds and increase public transport available and use – making it free for the elderly and those under 25.
Your local Labour MP Rosie Duffield spoke in parliament last year on how Kent County Council was refusing local headteachers the money they needed for special needs support. Ben will be pushing for more investment in early years education, improving the quality and standard of our primary schools and ensuring no one is turned away from the schools they are entitled to attend.
Flytipping in the countryside is only getting worse, and endless promises of more ineffective enforcement are not dealing with the problem. Ben will propose practical and radical changes to waste management policy including free pick up of skips provided to every village and radically reducing the charging of builders and tradespeople waste disposal so long as they are prone tax and business rate payers. Privatisation in waste management has inflicted a flytipping epidemic on our countryside and needs to be reversed.