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The Candidate Interviews: Sam Carling - Labour (North West Cambridgeshire)


Sam Carling

Sam Carling, the Labour candidate for North West Cambridgeshire, hopes to draw from his experiences as a local councillor if elected as a Member of Parliament.


“I've got quite a lot of experience of representing people in dealing with lots of casework issues, and in bringing in funding for the ward that I represent - and I’d use a lot of that experience if I’m elected to Westminster.”


In terms of tackling the housing crisis, Mr Carling said: “Labour in local government has actually been doing a lot on this, and where I'm a councillor over in Cambridge, we've got a really ambitious council house building programme.


“I think we came second in the country in terms of the amount of council houses we were able to build here.”


He added: “Labour intends to support more affordable housing being built, and a lot of our plans for doing that rely on reforming planning laws.” 


He said this involves legally requiring more affordable housing to be built on housing developments.


“In terms of young people specifically, we are pledging to help first-time buyers and young people with what we're calling a new freedom to buy mortgage guarantee scheme, which will give first-time buyers first dibs on new homes in their area.”


Regarding NHS waiting lists, Mr Carling said: “We want to get the NHS back on its feet and one of the ways we're going to do that is bringing in 40,000 extra appointments every week for people, by paying staff to do overtime shifts on weekends and evenings.


“We've got a spiral of things getting worse because people are waiting so long for treatment that they are getting sicker, so getting rid of the backlog will improve the situation in the long-term.”


Mr Carling outlined his support for Labour’s pledge to crack down on “junk food” being advertised to children, along with creating a smoke-free generation.


Addressing climate change, Mr Carling stated: “We are extremely cognisant of climate change and we will do everything we can in power to do our bit from Britain's perspective.”


He talked about Great British Energy, describing it as “a new public energy company that will invest in clean energy across the country, whilst giving us energy independence from foreign dictators.


“We are pledging clean power by 2030 now - that is really, really ambitious,” he admitted, before highlighting a range of green policies to achieve his goal.


“We're going to triple solar power, double our onshore wind capacity and pioneer some floating offshore wind technology, as well as getting some new nuclear projects off the line.


“It's about getting us all off fossil fuels. We also intend to work to reduce Britain's energy dependence, so that's about upgrading Britain's cold, drafty homes through good insulation and retrofit,” which Mr Carling noted would also cut homeowners’ energy bills.


“What we've been doing in local government here in Cambridgeshire is really investing in training people up in those skills, so when we get a Labour government, we will then be in a good position to get going on those pledges straight away.”


He added that Labour would create a national wealth fund “that will invest in jobs to rebuild Britain’s industrial strength and do that in a green way, investing in green skills and technology.”


To mitigate against the rise in poor mental health among young people, the Labour candidate said: “We intend to recruit 8,500 additional mental health staff across the country to drive down waiting lists, and we'll fund that through closing various tax loopholes.


“Labour will make sure every young person has access to a specialist mental health professional at school - we want to have open access mental health hubs for young people, providing early intervention through drop-in services.”


This would be funded through ending tax breaks on private schools.


Whilst Mr Carling recognised that many parents would not be able to pay the VAT on their child’s private school fees, he believed that state school students deserve the best education possible.


Labour would use the money raised by ending the tax break on private schools to fund 6,500 new state school teachers in key subjects like maths, he said.


“Why do we have this two tier system? Why shouldn't everyone have access to high quality education? Why shouldn't our state schools be invested in and funded properly?


“We think it's completely unfair that the state school sector is really deprived of funding and private schools are being given tax breaks.”


In terms of tackling anti-social behaviour and crime, Mr Carling said: “We are pledging very quickly to put 13,000 more police officers on the streets,” before citing that 90% of crimes are going unsolved.


He also talked about halving violence against women and girls, and introducing tougher sentences for rapists.


Addressing knife crime, Mr Carling explained: “When people are caught with knives, we will have swift, firm action and we will have stronger enforcement - we can't just have meaningless warnings.


“We will really crack down the availability of knives by implementing a full ban on zombie knives.”


The Labour candidate firmly believed that a package of support involving mentors, pupil referral units and youth hubs could prevent people being drawn into knife crime from a young age.


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