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For months I have spoken with local residents and listened to their views. The election is upon us, and it is clear that many who intend to vote remain undecided.

Nonetheless, people are clear about a number of issues. They want a secure future for Bedford Hospital and are concerned about the Tory drive to privatise health services.Too many struggle with the cost of living and want action on low wages and high fuel and energy bills.

Others cannot cannot understand why the government has refused to help foodbanks whilst cutting tax for the rich. Our schools are forced to compete with each other instead of cooperating. Rail fares shoot up and the cost of housing is beyond what most young people can afford.

Many residents are not comfortable with the Tories' negative attitude to Europe and divisive approach to Scotland, which risks breaking up the UK. I want to help unite our country and will support policies that benefit the many, not only the few.

If elected I will again be a full-time MP and will put Bedford Kempston first. I will never accept extra paid directorships and consultancies. I will work with the mayor, the council, local businesses, and residents to provide the leadership and vision we need.

Patrick Hall reflects on the campaign

For months I have spoken with local residents and listened to their views. The election is upon us, and it is clear that many who intend to vote remain undecided....

Labour's local councillors have come up with a series of initiatives that have helped hard-pressed families in Bedford Borough.

Many households have seen their finances squeezed by the unfair policies of the Conservative-Liberal government, including the scrapping of the Education Maintenance Allowance, wage freezes, cuts to care and other services. It is the least well-off who have been the hardest hit by the present government.

As part of the fight back against the cost of living crisis, Bedford's Labour councillors have put in place a Living Wage for council employees and are seeking accreditation as a Living Wage employer.

Labour councillors have secured the allocation of £4 million for care homes in the Borough, and they have successfully fought for training and apprenticeship schemes to help with local employment, especially for young people.

Meanwhile, Labour has locally taken action on the housing crisis. £2.8 million has been allocated to purchase empty homes, ending urban blight and bringing them bank into use for local people.

Cllr Sue Oliver, Labour leader on Bedford Borough Council, explained, 'These policies are about trying to make Bedford a fairer and better place for people to live. We have delivered real benefits for local people, and we will continue to do so'.

On the same day as the general election, 7th May, voters in Bedford Borough will have the chance to elect a new council and mayor. Residents are urged to use their votes to elect Labour councillors and Tim Douglas as mayor to put Labour in the strongest possible position to fight for a better standard of life for the people of Bedford.

Labour's local action to support hard-pressed families

Labour's local councillors have come up with a series of initiatives that have helped hard-pressed families in Bedford Borough. Many households have seen their finances squeezed by the unfair policies...

Claims of an economic recovery are at odds with the experience of Bedford Foodbank which is now feeding 500 people every month.

The scandal of of people in a prosperous country being reliant on food parcels has so embarassed David Cameron's government, that it has tried to hide figures and refused £22 million available from Europe to ease the burden on Britain's foodbanks.

Patrick Hall, Labour parliamentary candidate for Bedford and Kempston, pointed out that 'the scandal of increasing reliance on foodbanks is not just affecting the unemployed -- many of those in need of help are in work that is so poorly paid that they cannot make ends meet'.

Labour recognises that in order to end the need for foodbanks, it is the responsibility of government to raise living standards for all. Labour will raise the minimum wage to £8 per hour and ban exploitative zero hour contracts which place people in financial insecurity.

Patrick Hall said, 'Labour will take action to help reverse this shocking new reliance on handouts of food'.

Government refuses to help foodbanks

Claims of an economic recovery are at odds with the experience of Bedford Foodbank which is now feeding 500 people every month. The scandal of of people in a prosperous...

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