Jeanette Stefani Bassford-Barton – UKIP – Clwyd South
All views on this page are from the candidate unedited.
We first asked them to tell us a little about who they are, any political history, about their political leanings and what skills you have to be a top level politician in Wales?
1. Aside from Covid and Covid recovery, what do you feel is the top issue for this Constituency in the forthcoming parliament term, and briefly explain how you would like to see your outcome achieved?
There is a great lack of public transport e.g. there isn’t a Bus Service in many parts of Clwyd South which really is a necessity for all Residents. Not everyone in this Constituency has the use of a car for a number of reasons e.g.they don’t have a Driving License,and if they do, they are unable to afford buying a car and/or the upkeep of it. Local Westminster and Senedd Politicians appear to concentrate on Train service provision and improvements which is very well in itself and certainly for the environment but they don’t appear to be aware of the initial fact and difficulty that it isn’t possible for all people to be able to get to the Stations in the first place without the use of public transport e.g. Buses, as they are not able to have their own vehicles. This lack of public transport affects all areas of the Community e.g. the elderly, working people trying to get to their employment,young employed people in their first job or training or College/University, lone parents, Disabled people, School Children getting to their School Bus. This is a major problem in Gwynfryn, my nearest Village and the outer Bwlchgwyn Village areas. Arriva is the only provider of Transport in Bwlchgwyn and Minera areas along with other rural areas of Clwyd South and although I have had dialogue with Head and local Offices and also local M.P’S and M.S.’s over the past two years with regard to extending their existing Bus services to these neglected public transport areas Arriva were not prepared to do this. The opportunity of putting out to tender the provision of other transport providers in Wales should definitely be considered rather than one Company having the Cartel over this very necessary service for the people of Clwyd South and all over Wales in general.
2.What is your plan for helping Residents and businesses in your constituency in the coming years to recover from the pandemic?
As previously mentioned a better affordable public transport service in rural areas is a “must” and would help everyone all round especially people who are employed who haven’t any transport of their own. This would also have an impact on the environment e.g. people would use public transport more and for those who have their own transport they could leave theirs at home e.g. less pollution, less use of vehicles on the road, less maintenance of roads which were predominantly constructed for use in the 19th Century, required.
More investment in Businesses from inside and outside of North Wales especially from the very small businesses and larger businesses starting off and also for the businesses that have managed to survive the Pandemic. The Development Bank of Wales certainly could help out in this area and for Wrexham Planning Department to recognise and support potential new Businesses coming into the area with new ideas rather than refuse planning permission as recently happened in 2019 with regard to a Company wishing to set up a Tomato production under glass site on Wrexham Industrial Estate that was deemed “commercial” by the Planning department rather than “agricultural”. What Agricultural Company doesn’t have a commercial end product e.g. vegetable production, animal feeds, wheat, oats, barley, the end product being sale of goods for consumption by humans and animals for an agreed amount of money to sustain the employment of people, the machinery equipment required to conduct and the running of the business i general? This business already has 3 other similar plants operating at a profit in the U.K.. It also would have employed a minimum of 150 employees besides the transport and drivers required to ship the Tomatoes all over the U.K. which would cut down on Continental traffic using our roads and the upkeep required to do this without paying a penny towards the maintenance of such. Also this would have had a very positive affect on the environment e.g. greener, especially if rail transport could have been utilised from our own Wrexham Stations to other parts of the U.K. and then collected at point of destination by more local road transport. More businesses in the area brings employment, business rates, Company taxation etc.
I also would like to see business rates lowered overall and certainly frozen for the next 3/4 years. and Income tax, kept at a low level along with National Insurance Contributions which would give people a steady amount of disposable income whereby it would encourage them to spend on goods which would then via the taxation put onto the goods would boost the economy and ease Governments in Wales and Westminster’s deficit and increased debt incurred due to the Pandemic.
For the International Development Ministry in the Senedd to really do their job wholeheartedly abroad and also in the whole of the U.K. to sell Wales to them and encourage investment. this can and could be done via the Internet, Zoom Meetings, Video calls etc. it doesn’t have to be done by going on very expensive trips abroad which may prove to be unsuccessful. Trips abroad for Ministers should only be carried out as a very real necessity. The same goes for trips to see how other Countries operate. This can all be done by Internet documentation and advice.
3. The Pandemic has highlighted to many for the first time the posers that the Senedd have under devolution. How has the Pandemic changed your views of devolution?
I have become aware of how Devolution hasn’t and isn’t working. As Wales is part of the United Kingdom, the same as Scotland and Northern Ireland it appears to me how fragmented the four Nations have become with different Laws from each of them and not all of the Nations are working together with these different Laws e.g. different Lockdown dates, different visiting dates for Relatives to visit their loved ones in Care Homes, different access to essential services such as Dentists, G.P.’s Hospital appointments, Hospital operations, essential Cataract and Hip replacements, waiting lists of at least 2/3 years or Patients being told indefinite periods of waiting whilst in England Cataract and Hip operations have gone ahead and one patient having both Cataract implants given within a Year from March 2020. Also, Devolution as it stands in Wales is not possible to be completely devolved and self sufficient as Wales just does not have the economy, through industry and exports, tax payers to be so. Wales has predominantly an older community compared to England, similarly so too has Scotland and Ireland, hence less working community to pay P.A.Y.E. and Business taxes etc. and is reliant to a certain extent on funding from the Westminster Government.
4. What would you have done differently on the Welsh Covid response?
All Viruses are airborne and are transported via the air that to recipients of the Virus in question. This is a clinically proven fact. Therefore, I would have immediately explained fully the full clinical facts and given this knowledge to to the people of Wales and the U.K. I would have ensured that there were enough masks in stock for the general public to use and also that there were enough for masks and PPE for all Clinical, Medical and Care Staff to be worn.
Handwashing should be a normal hygiene procedure anyway e.g. when we use Toilets, eat food etc. but again to remind people who don’t always observe this practise to do so. Large gatherings in the early stages of the Pandemic such as Racing, Football Matches should have been avoided if possible and if not, Spectators should have been provided with masks and hand sanitisers freely available to use before entering the Event. The problem arose when there wasn’t enough of this equipment available in Wales and the U.K.for this to happen. Clinical Staff and Veterinary Staff have always used Masks in modern times for medical procedures such as operations etc. evidence that they do work.
Businesses and non-essential businesses should not have been shut down into Lockdown as this has had a devastating effect on the economy which our children, grandchildren and generations beyond will have to pay for via taxation. The U.K. only finished paying off the debt of the early 19th Century Napoleonic Wars in 2014 as an example. Hospitality and entertainment e.g. Theatres, smaller music venues and Restaurants should have been kept open but again Masks to be worn where possible, Temperature checks and social distancing to be strictly observed and obviously funding made available in the very first instance for research into creating a Vaccine. Our economy would not have suffered so severely and people would still be able to go out to work which would produce taxes for the Governments via P.A.Y.E. and National Insurance and also their Mental Health would not have been affected so much as they would be meeting with their colleagues and friends, albeit under social distancing guidelines.
5. Would you support legislation to hold an Independence Referendum for Wales? How would you vote in such a Referendum and why?
As I believe in Democracy for the people, Yes, I would support legislation to hold an Independence Referendum. I would vote against Independence as I believe that Wales’ economy is not strong enough on its own to be Independent e.g. there isn’t enough Industry in its many forms to sustain Independence and we do have quite a large retired persons population who have worked hard and well in their earlier years and contributed to the Welsh economy but, unfortunately, they can no longer work. Everyone in Wales does contribute to the economy even though they maybe retired via bought goods, travel costs, fuel, Council Tax etc. but for those who are not able to work Income Tax and National Insurance isn’t received as in other areas of the U.K. e.g. England. Also, if Wales isn’t able to support itself financially and Independence came about, there would be the threat of Wales joining the EU for financial support and having to accept all of the EU Laws, not Welsh Laws, which would contradiction with regard to Independence.
6. What actions would you take, or support, as an MS to encourage Welsh Language use growth? Or, if you are against this, why?
I believe wholeheartedly and support the use of the Welsh Language. It is one of the oldest languages in the World. I believe it should be available to be taught in Schools from an early age as it is the Welsh peoples heritage. However, as I also believe in freedom of speech and choice it should be a choice not an obligation. However, I also believe that parents should encourage their children to learn Welsh as it is part of their proud heritage. I have friends who are older who have lived in Wales all of their lives but never had the option or opportunity to learn Welsh it wasn’t on their Curriculum whilst at School, just English but also, neither was the option of learning other languages such as French, Spanish, German, Russian or Latin. I also believe that Welsh should be an option for older people who wish to learn Welsh if they have the time to do so by way of the provision of learning groups.
7. What does “climate emergency” mean to you, and why?
According to Geologists etc. and I believe this to be so, there is a natural climate change happening at the moment. However, throughout history there has also been many climate changes that have happened going back to the Middle Ages, thousands of years ago, and beyond, hence the biblical story of the floods ad the Ark.
Flooding is happening in Wales and the U.K. and the unpredictable weather all over the World is evidence of this. This has been predicted by Scientists and Geologists for many years now and unfortunately, Politicians all over the World haven’t always acted on this advice or acted too late hence the devastation that has occurred Worldwide. On the advice of the EU in the U.K’s instance, ditches small and large rivers have failed to be cleaned and cleared of strangling vegetation and large rivers have not been dredged and cleared of debris and sandbanks which has added to the problem of climate change and emergencies have then occurred by way of flooding which appears to now be an annual occurrence. This maintenance work does need to be carried out and flood defences need to be put into place now. Also, pollution needs to be addressed, by way of raw sewage including wipes etc. being disposed of into our rivers, lakes and coastal waters. there should be more affordable public transport available in all areas of Wales, rural, towns or Cities so that people will use it and leave their cars at home.
8. There can be a perception that Politicians are too “South Wales focused” and can see a north south divide. Do you think that this is the case, and realistically, if elected, which of your North Wales specific goals do you think you can deliver?
I feel that Politicians are definitely too “South Wales focused”and there does appear to be a north south divide. Cardiff and Swansea are a very much different to North Wales , to Wrexham and also eve. mid. Wales. It is a totally different World down in the South of Wales, and so much investment has been put into it by way of beautiful buildings, really good roads fit for purpose, more affordable housing, more opportunity by way of training, education, employment and health provision.
If I were to be elected I would petition and lobby for investment from the Senedd to be given to the North Wales area and in particular Wrexham encouraging ad selling Wrexham and North Wales to business investors, getting key Ministers including the First Minister, whoever that may be to visit Wrexham and the North to take off their rose coloured glassed and to see just how this area has declined. I want to see the Wrexham of my childhood here again, when it was a thriving market town with industry, agriculture and commerce to the forefront and the town was full of open shops, invested in and thriving. I would like to be able to deliver a decent dual carriageway, at least,if not a suitable fit for purpose north south road down to South Wales that was safe to travel on by HGV delivery vehicles and to a certain extent cars rather than the 19th Century virtual country lane that exists at the moment. Also the A55 goes so far then stops going nowhere. For it to be continued and upgraded to make it a complete coast road serving all of the Welsh Coast down to the South of Wales. Provision of better fit for purpose roads in the Wrexham and North Wales area especially where new housing projects have been put into place. this should be so and provided by the Builders of the new housing projects and insisted upon by the Planning department of the various local authorities. This would eliminate the massive traffic jams that exist due to commuters travelling to and from work etc.
9. What are your views on a LGBTQ+ plan for Wales?
I believe in Democracy and equality and support a LGBTQ plan. In my career I have worked in all areas of LGBTQ have understood all of the issues that this entails for people and fully support an equality and non-discriminatory approach and practise to these groups.
10. Children and young people have missed almost a full year of regular education – what are your plans to make sure that children who have missed out on an academic and social experience are not left at a disadvantage in the next few years?
My plans would be to recruit more Teachers and Teaching Assistants wherever possible and available through training and free funding for the training and in the emergency shorter term to recruit longer serving serving Agency Teachers and Teaching Assistants with the view to offer permanent employment on good Contract terms by negotiation with Agency providers. To enable more one to one personal tuition to the children and young people who have missed out with smaller classes also so that they can get the specialist help and tuition that they have missed out on and that they so much deserve. More provision and support by specialist Teachers for children and young people who have Dyslexia and learning difficulties even if the school day has to be extended by one extra hour a day to devote to this e.g. instead of finishing at 3-00 p.m. finish at 4-00 p.m. during the lighter days of Spring and Summer. Children and young people are the future of Wales and the U.K. and they are also the citizens of the future so every possible help should be given to them to make their childhood as valuable and as happy as possible. I also would encourage the provision of more Youth Clubs for young people supervised by qualified Youth workers whereby they would also benefit from free training to carry out their duties. This would help young people in their socialisation with others and also give the opportunity to relax and do the recreational things that appeal to them working within their groups of choice.
11. Local services such as Libraries, leisure centres and Community Centres have been badly affected in recent years due to lack of funding – how would you support local authorities?
I would campaign within the Senedd and petition to make funding possible for all of the above services as I think they are all so very important for the education and the welfare and mental health of the people of Clwyd South, Wrexham and the people of Wales. Of course, how easy or hard this action would be depends on the governing party within the Senedd and the politics of the First Minister. However, I believe in the consistent approach to such difficulties and to not be put off by any negativity that may exist from one Party’s politics to another. Perseverance would be the key word!
12. How would you resolve issues in the local Health Board that are emerging from special measures?
Examining in detail the performance reports submitted over the past 5 years and also the financial reports, the hiring of Agency Staff and submitted statistics presented to the Wales Health Minister. With regard to the salaries given to Staff for their services and especially the hiring of financial Consultants and one of the facts of in this area was a financial Consultant appointed by the previous Chief Executive to the recently appointed Chief Executive who was responsible for awarding a Contract to a previous colleague of his to work distantly in Ibiza for one day per week and was awarded almost £2000 to work one day per week. The Contract was for 9 months. I would look at possible savings with regard to administration Staff, look at awarded Contracts to sub contractors providing services within the Hospital and looking at the feasibility of employing regular permanent Staff with regard to cleaning and hygiene food provision and maintenance and security of the Hospital building. Of course everything would have to have accurate costing. However, the most important point of all would be to increase the Clinical, Medical, Ambulance and Social Care Staff and the provision of necessary and top class training because the mainstay of the Hospital is the Clinical Staff. Without them, the Hospital would not exist or function and support and appreciation of their services would have to be given to them accordingly. One of the most important things is to not allow the Hospital to become “top heavy” with administration and Management Staff who require salaries to go with them. The provision of Clinical Staff is a priority first and foremost without them the Hospital could not function.
13. What are you planning to do to help those who are finding it hard to find work?
I would provide funding for training and retraining those who required it and look at literacy issues. Help and support to be given with regard to creating C.V.’s and self esteem coaching and planning towards obtaining employment. Also the creation of really good Apprenticeships in all areas, Science, Hospitality and Tourism, Construction, Administration and Business management etc. and increase Bursaries for those who would like to go on and make Nursing their career.
I would also confer with the International and National Business Manager and their sitting Committee and local Planning Departments to see where they were in encouraging Companies and Businesses to invest in Clwyd South,Wrexham, North Wales and the whole of Wales consequently providing employment for those who had found it hard to secure employment and with the help of further education and training to provide top class employees this would be possible.
14. A lack of Bus services, a poor road network, a need for more active travel and an improved train service are some of the more contentious issues in the area. If elected what would you campaign for and deliver for your Constituency?
I would Campaign for all four of these issues. I would open more rural train services run on the lines of many towns and Cities on the Continent of Europe and on the lines of Merseyrail in Liverpool and the London Underground with regular services on peak times during the week and on non peak times and Weekends a regular half hourly or hourly service. I would conjoin this service up with normal capacity bus services at peak times and smaller capacity bus services on non peak times to accommodate people travelling to the Stations. The Bus services would do a regular round trip to and from the Stations. this would cut down on car travel on the roads and have an impact also on the maintenance of the roads and it would also address the issue of pollution. I would also encourage the freight to be moved via the Rail system. Of course, both of these services would be affordable to everyone.
Our roads in the area are very bad, old fashioned and pot holed and built for the most part in the 19th Century. They all need to be widened as most of them are nothing more than narrow Country lanes and for HGV 40 tonners or more vehicles using them it can be very dangerous because of the roads not being fit for purpose and without any pavements.
15. North Wales returned seven UKIP MS’s back in 2016 and all but one defected to another Party. Why should people vote to be represented by your party given that Nathan Gill, Mandy Jones , Caroline Jones, David Rowlands, Gareth Bennett and Michelle Brown have all defected to alternatives since?
People should vote to be represented by UKIP because we have a very good Manifesto and Policies that has been drawn up by Members of UKIP who come from very ordinary backgrounds but listen to what other people want in their lives for them to be happy. UKIP is a People’s Party for the People it always has been and always will be. It is a libertarian Party and believes in outright Democracy and equality and for a United Kingdom and for the progression and betterment of the people who are Welsh and British subjects.
The named M.S’s who defected to other alternative parties were not against any of the Policies of UKIP at all. Unfortunately, it was more the case that they found it difficult to work as a Team together and work under an elected Leader. All of the defected M.S’s have also joined other Parties more than once and in some cases up to four times which surely is evidence of their unprofessional approach and lack of experience with regard to working as a Team.
This issue has been addressed with all UKIP approved Candidates in Wales for the current Senedd Elections and accordingly this issue should and will not happen again.
16. You have a Policy of “scrap the Assembly”, is scrapping better than abolishing, and why will UKIP do it better than the Abolish party and others?
Scrapping and Abolishing is one and the same thing but the difference is that UKIP also has other very important Policies besides just this one as stated in our current Manifesto 2021 and current Leaflet/Flyer. Both have been created by a tremendous amount of research directly with the people of Wales and the U.K. and we have asked them what they would like to have relative to enjoying a better life for them and their families.
17. In the UKIP Wales Statement of principles your Party’s number two item says NHS over Foreign Aid and ” The UK gives away £14.6 Billion of your money every single year to Foreign Aid” If elected MS you will have no control over money spent on foreign aid by the UK Government – why is this your second priority?
The NHS has had a very hard time over the past 18 months due to Covid 19 and is desperately short of money due to many issues, e.g. a much larger population now than when the NHS was originally created, high tech medical equipment such as Scanners etc. costly medical technology for the benefit of patients, bad financial and wastage issues and planning by management, costly Agency Staff rather than investment in training over the years of our own NHS Clinical Staff. Patients are waiting 2 years or more to have a hip replacement procedure whilst waiting in absolute agony to have it done, people are running the risk of losing their eyesight waiting 2 or more years at least to have an eye Cataract removed and given an implant lens besides Cancer, Multiple Sclerosis Lupus and other autoimmune disorders being addressed and of course a great lack of Mental Health diagnosing staff e.g. Psychiatrists, Clinical Psychologists, Counselling Psychologists and Psychotherapist etc. the health of our Nation and the U.K. is of utmost importance e.g. if we cannot look after our own people who can we look after? Foreign Aid can be given out by very necessary need and audited by the UK rather than as an annual amount very often given to Despots of other Countries to build their Palaces and to increase their wealth that they already have rather than be given to the genuine needs of their people that they unfortunately control and control and oppress.
18. If you change political allegiance from what you are currently seeking election for (e.g. resigning from or joining another party or group) will you trigger a by-election? If not, why not?
This would never happen as I would never change and have no reason to change my allegiance from UKIP as I wholeheartedly believe in the Policies of UKIP. I believe that people vote for their Political Party of choice and their Policies not for the individual representative Candidate of the Party. It should not be a personal vote. If a M.S decides to resign from a Party or change allegiance to another Party they should resign and trigger a By-Election. Too many M.S.’s and M.P’s are sitting in Government claiming huge amounts of money by way of their salaries, Committee sittings, and expenses known colloquially as “the gravy train”. This, in my mind is very wrong and amounts to abuse of the sincerity of the voters who voted them in and is also misleading them and could be classed as almost fraudulent.
19. At the time of writing where has the top three sources of funding for your Campaign come from and are there any funding sources you feel would be relevant to voters to know about?
My funding for my Campaign has come directly from the Members of UKIP by Membership fees and very small donations given by Members at Branch Meetings held throughout the Year. In the past I have funded my own Campaign completely and haven’t received any donations from anywhere or anyone. UKIP as a Party is not a wealthy Party and doesn’t receive any large donations or funding from Donors as other Parties do e.g. the Labour Party via Unite the Union and other sources and the Conservative Party, the Liberal Party and Plaid Cymru. UKIP, is Membership fees orientated or self funding by their Candidates.
20. In a few lines to wrap tis up, why are you the best Candidate compared to your competitors?
I feel that I am the best Candidate for Clwyd South because I have a broad experience of life and people in general via my career working in International and National transport, civil engineering, construction, Health and Social Care, Mental Health, Psychological Therapies. Also I have many years of giving my time as a Volunteer, freely, to addressing Addictions, Youth, Homelessness, volunteering within the Community as a Community Councillor and School Councillor. I believe in being with ordinary people, listening to them, spending time with them and discovering what they would like to have to have a good quality of life and doing everything possible and within my remit to ensure that people do have a better life wherever possible.. My Motto is PEOPLE DO COUNT!