Following a lively election debate in Beaconsfield last night, we have summed up the key opinions of all five of the candidates standing in the constituency as mentioned during the hustings: 


On the issue of simplifying the tax system, the majority of candidates agreed that the system does need to be made easier.

Russell Secker - Green:

“It does need simplification. Greens believe people should pay their fair share of tax but it should be simplified. It is not going to be done anytime soon with the fog of Brexit hanging over us.”

Dominic Grieve – Conservative:

The top two per cent pays 28 per cent of all the tax. They may be able to afford it but it highlights the fact that they take on a substantial burden. The conservative government has taken more people out of tax than has happened previously.

“You must simply look at the figures. If you raise corporation tax, we will lose revenue. I would like to see the system simplified. I'm afraid we have a complex tax system because politicians cannot resist find new whizzo ways to tax people without them realising – Gordon Brown was a great specialist in this, he wanted to create a dependency culture on the state.

“I'm pleased we have got rid of some of that. But you cannot tax people into the ground and then imagine your buoyant economy will emerge.”

James: English – Labour:

“It does need to be simplified. What the labour party are proposing is that 95 per cent of taxpayers will see no increase in the rate of their tax and there will be no rises in VAT or National Insurance contributions too. It is not a drastic change.

“Does it make sense to do this? Does it make sense what is happening in this country? Does it make sense seeing our NHS crumbling? There are a lot of things happening in this country that aren’t fair.

“It makes sense to introduce Labour’s changes to taxation to raise the revenue that our country so desperately needs right now.

“Dominic Grieve mentions corporation tax being an issue for businesses in this country. We plan to raise it to 26 per cent – that is still going to be the lowest in the G7 countries. It is not sky high, it is a sensible change.

“Our manifesto is fully costed. None of the others even bothered costing theirs. We have gone the extra mile to prove to the British people where the money is coming from and where it will be spent.”

Jon Conway - UKIP:

“I don’t think the tax system is complicated, the benefits system is complicated. It is quite clear how much tax you pay, but the benefits system is incredibly unclear. It would be easier if people knew where their tax goes to. People don’t know.

“Many of us don’t know where our tax money goes. I want to know how much we are spending and where it goes. We don’t know what Dominic’s lot do with it.”

Peter Chapman – Lib Dems:

“Personal tax has been simplified considerably. Millions of people now do their tax return online within 30 and 60 minutes. If the system wasn’t simple, it wouldn’t be so easy for people to do their returns relatively quickly. On the other hand, corporate taxation is highly complex.”


Candidates were asked by school governor, Deidre Smaje, what their government would do, if elected, to ensure existing schools receive a “sustainable level of funding to deliver the level of education our children deserve”.

Peter Chapman – Lib Dems:

“The situation we are in is based on the conservative manifesto of 2015, where they promised to safeguard school funding in cash terms.

“We know that because school budgets are fixed in cash terms, because teachers deservedly get pay increases, because of other rising costs and school numbers, every school is having to work to smaller budgets year on year which means that vacancies are not being filled.

“The only way to fix this is to commit that education should be funded in real terms.”

Jon Conway – UKIP:

“I was impressed with the facilities in the schools around here. They are really good. We have to recognise that funding needs to go into the teacher-pupil ratio – that is the most important thing.

“Schools have done pretty well, but the teacher-pupil ratio needs to be safeguarded and maintained so we can protect our kids. We have to nurture them because they are the future.”

Russell Secker – Green:

“There is a lack of morale among teachers. They are overworked, under-respected and have a very tough time. They are having to buy supplies out of their own money. They are very dispirited and that cannot be good for our kids.

“The Green Party proposes to bring education back into Local Authority control, abolish SATs and really stand the thing on its head because it is getting worse by a thousand cuts.”

James English – Labour:

“Education here is very much in a state where teachers are losing moral and schools are struggling. Labour Party policy on this is to create a national education service – yes we do need to find funding for this, and we pledge to do this to the tune of £6 billion for schools that need funding for books, chairs and everything in between.

“We want to stop the expansion of grammar schools – they are not in the interest of children. Right now, the system is not working.”

Dominic Grieve – Conservative:

“It’s a complex issue. Schools are under funding pressure. Principal pressure is interest rates – the fall in the pound and the rise in national insurance costs.

“Before we all get carried away, it is worth bearing in mind that Ofsted suggests that 1.3 million children are enjoying a better standard of education today than in 2010.

“My son intends to be a primary school teacher – I don’t wish to see him dispirited, but I haven’t seen his as dispirited either.”

Green Belt

Mike Elliott, chair of the Beaconsfield Society, asked how we can balance the need of affordable homes in the constituency with the protection of the Green Belt.

Russell Secker – Green:

“The Green Party view is that Green Belt should be protected and kept sacrosanct. But we need more affordable housing.

“We have to work harder to keep our green areas protected. It is not an easy answer but we have to balance the need.”

James English - Labour:

“We are at the lowest rate of housebuilding in peacetime since the 1920s. It’s a very fine balance - we need to prioritise building but be considerate of Green Belt land. We do need to build more houses in this constituency. The best way to find that balance is through local government consultation.”

Dominic Grieve – Conservative:

“Areas outside the Green Belt have been gradually densified in the last 20 years. Unless you want to dramatically change how we live, the limits are probably being approached as to where you can fit housing outside the Green Belt.

“It’s not realistic to imagine that there is going to be no building on the Green Belt. A rising population is not something politicians can prevent so we have to accept it. We have to make sure the choices we make are the right ones. We cannot have a society where people cannot find housing.”

Peter Chapman – Lib Dems:

“We can’t accept a situation where constituencies like this that they have no new housebuilding. There are never going to be houses for the nurses, teachers, police officers, shop workers, who provide services that are needed.

“We have to juggle priorities. We need more houses but I can’t think of a better way than asking district councils to make those decisions.”

John Conway – UKIP:

“We need land and we need the funds to do it. HS2 is going to rip up vast acres at an enormous cost. Would you rather have affordable housing built for the nurses, the firemen, the teachers, in that area, or would you rather have a high speed train? HS2 is a massive blunder. We have to do more than just build flats – families want houses with a garden.”

NHS and social care

Should pensioners pay more to fund social care?

James English – Labour:

“We need a social care system that’s fully funded and works for older people. At the moment there is a crisis in social care because the NHS is underfunded. Cuts are being prioritised over patient safety.

“Adult social care is not working. We are proposing a national care service and we will ensure that it is aligned with the NHS.”

Peter Chapman – Lib Dems:

“In my own experience, I sold my parents’ house for £400,000 and so far spent £300,000 on their care. I thought that was normal and that is what you spent the funds on.

“As long as you are well looked after and nursed, I don’t have a problem with pensioners paying for their own care as long as they have the funds to. I don’t see an issue with using the value of someone’s house to pay for their care.”

Jon Conway – UKIP:

“This and many other things, we need a long-term view and a cross-party consensual view. Whether we pay for it or our children pay for it, there are some things we need to have a consensus on because it is not going away.”

Russell Secker – Green Party:

“I am in the process of selling my parents’ house to fund their care. To me, it’s the right thing to do. It’s the assets they accrued throughout their working lives and it should go towards paying for their care.”

Dominic Grieve – Conservative:

“We have to be realistic. If we expect the care of the elderly to be paid out of general taxation, we are inviting the ruin of the generation that is going to fund it.

“The Prime Minister is absolutely right. We have to be realistic about this. There is going to have to be a cap and a ceiling to make sure that people’s assets are made useful. Simply passing it off to the young is not a reasonable approach to take.”