LABOUR Parliamentary Candidate Rebecca Jenkins launched her General Election campaign outside the Alexandra Hospital last Saturday.
Unlike other candidates in Worcestershire who have recently been selected, school teacher Ms Jenkins was chosen as the Redditch candidate last year.
With the election set for Thursday, December 12, Ms Jenkins says she is ready to ‘give hope back to the people of Redditch’.
“For too long our residents have suffered austerity brought on by successive Tory Governments,” she said.
“Redditch has seen a 43 per cent increase of foodbank usage over the last 12 months, and with winter upon us, the worst is yet to come.
“Our town has the lowest average wage in the West Midlands and the highest uptake of Universal Credit in Worcestershire.
“Our schools continue to be underfunded by an average of £210 per pupil each year.
“This cannot go on.”
Ms Jenkins chose to campaign outside the Alex despite a call from the head of NHS Providers, Chris Hopson, to not use the National Health Service as a ‘political weapon’.
He told BBC radio that ‘over-dramatising NHS difficulties’ or making ‘disingenuous’ funding claims did the service ‘no favours’.
Last week Conservative Parliamentary Candidate Rachel Maclean did the same.
Speaking on the Alex Ms Jenkins said: “We have seen our Maternity and Children’s A&E taken away.
“The Trust which runs our hospitals is in debt of £194million, over-running its budget by £82.5million.
“Targets are being missed and waiting lists are getting longer.”
Ms Jenkins added that the Labour Manifesto will ‘fund the NHS’ to provide more doctors, nurses and will reintroduce the training bursaries.
She said Brexit would be ‘sorted within 6 months’, allowing the party to ‘get on with delivering real change’.
However Mrs Maclean argues that she is the only candidate who can deliver Brexit once the election dust has settled.
She said: “Labour want a second referendum because they don’t trust the people of Redditch.
“Labour believes 62 per cent of voters in Redditch got it wrong.
“Whereas I’m committed to delivering what the majority of residents in the town voted for.”