Ahead of Valentine’s Day, North Somerset Labour Party attended Portishead Farmers Market this Saturday to gauge voters’ attraction to Labour’s ‘five missions’.

    Drawing on the theme of Valentine’s Day, members of the public were asked which of Labour’s five missions were closest to their hearts. As the sun came out on Saturday morning passers-by were invited to put a sticker on the Labour mission they loved the most.

    The Labour Party has five bold, fully funded missions for Britain should it win power at the next general election:

    1. get Britain building again with 1.5 million new homes in five years;
    2. switch on Great British Energy, a new publicly owned clean power company to cut bills and deliver good jobs;
    3. get the NHS back on its feet by paying doctors and nurses overtime to cut the waiting lists – paid for by ending the non-dom tax break;
    4. take back our streets with 13,000 more neighbourhood police and PCOSs; and
    5. break down barriers to opportunity by introducing free school breakfast clubs and more specialist maths and science teachers – paid for by removing tax breaks for private schools.

    Almost 60% of those who participated chose getting the NHS back on its feet as the mission they loved the most. This is not a surprise for most of us, and reflects the high level of concern people have about accessing health services for themselves and their loved ones.

    Labour’s missions to ‘break down barriers to opportunity,’ ‘switch on Great British Energy,’ ‘take back our streets,’ and ‘get Britain building again’ received around 14%, 10%, 10%, and 7% of Portishead’s support respectively.

    The indications are that the past 14 years of Conservative austerity policies have taken their toll on the nation’s health. Since 2010, the average height of five year olds has unexpectedly decreased, suggesting widespread poverty and social deprivation amongst children. In 2011, life expectancy began to stall in the UK despite rising in other countries and today residents of the most deprived areas of North Somerset can expect to enjoy 18 fewer years of healthy life compared to residents of wealthier areas of the constituency. Not only are we as a nation sicker, we face longer waiting times for treatment, difficulties in accessing NHS dentists, a mental health service unable to meet demand, and a care service in crisis.

    From the comments received by those running the stall, it is clear that the people of Portishead are looking for change and are turning to a party that cares and will look after the most vulnerable.

    Dr Ailsa Milnes, one of the Labour members running the stall, said “several lifelong Conservative voters told me they are now planning to vote Labour at the next general election.” Dr Milnes added that “former Conservative voters are impressed by Labour’s missions and have lost trust in the Conservatives. Various passers-by told me they believe “everything – the economy, the NHS – is in chaos,” “I can’t believe a word Liam Fox says,” and “the current Tory Government makes the Mafia look honest!””

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