May 5, 2015
Prime Minister speaks out on local issues during election visit

The Prime Minister visited the Wells constituency on Monday (May 4th) to give his backing to his party's candidate James Heappey for this week's General Election.

David Cameron visited Wells where he met local residents in a walkabout before answering questions from local reporters, including

Mr Cameron said winning the Wells constituency is "vital" to forming a Tory government, adding: "It's absolutely vital. The south west is going to have the decisive say in this election. The Conservative Party is 23 constituencies short of an overall majority - we hold 303 seats and we need to win 23 and Wells is one of them. If you look across the West Country you can see reams of seats that could make the difference between a Conservative majority government or the uncertainty and chaos of Ed Milliband propped up by the SNP. It really is that tight and that close. The West Country will have that choice so I want people to feel empowered that their decision could make the difference for our country."

The Prime Minister was asked about what can be done to help Burnham address the impact of the EU's new sea water regulations. He said: "The most important thing is to back James' campaign. Everyone needs to get together in order to ensure the investment is made and people's voices are listened to so that Burnham does not suffer. Tourism is very important to Somerset's economy and I want to make sure it keeps growing."

Mr Cameron was pressed about the slow pace of high-speed broadband rollout across Somerset. He said: "It is absolutely essential. Not being connected to broadband is a bit like not being connected to the road network, because for small businesses it is absolutely vital. Our target here is that we will get to 95% in 2017. We have piled money into rural broadband and will continue to do that. We also want to look at all the solutions for getting to the other 5% - whether that's by satellite, relays or other systems - because we want everyone to have access to this technology."

Asked about the housing 'crisis' in parts of Somerset with a lack of affordable homes, Mr Cameron defended his 'help to buy scheme' against recent criticism. He said: "Help to buy does help because people only need a 5% per cent deposit rather than the 25% deposit they were having to get when I became Prime Minister, so it has helped a number of people in this constituency. We'll go further because the starter homes we're going to build will be built for 80% of the market price. They can't be bought by buy-to-let landlords or foreign property investors - only local people under the age of 40. I also think the 'right to buy plan' for housing associations will mean that they will get more money to build more houses and, as councils start to sell off some of their most expensive properties, they will be able to re-invest that, so it's a more than one-for-one replacement."

A follow-on question asked why some housing associations have not welcomed the scheme, to which he responded: "Housing association tenants are welcoming it - and it's the tennants that I'm more interested in because they want to do something which others have done - to buy their own home. That will work well for council housing tenants and housing associations. Housing associations themselves will be reimbursed for the houses they sell and they'll be able to build more houses as a result."

Other questions during the visit asked about fracking, which he said he's opposed to, adding: "no, we have very clear rules about that," and discussions about reforming a Lib Dem coalition.

The PM and James Heappey during the visit, which coincided with the May Fayre

Click here for the full list of local candidates standing in the General Election


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