We think these questions are right on! It may be too close to the election day now to send a letter to your candidates by post, but there's still time to email them your questions, ask them at hustings, or ask to doorstep or town centre canvassers.
Letter from Norwich SPEAK:
Dear PARLIAMENTARY CANDIDATE,
We are the Norwich SPEAK group, part of the national SPEAK network (www.speak.org.uk). We are a group of Christians who pray and campaign on issues of social injustice. Some of our members are constituents of Norwich North and some are Norwich South constituents. We are writing to you as we understand that you are standing for election in Norwich South and as your potential constituents we would like to raise some of our concerns regarding injustices in our world.
We believe that multi-national companies should pay tax in every country in which they operate. We are campaigning for a more transparent system where companies are unable to use tax havens to avoid the payment of taxes. This has been a hot topic here in the UK in the last year however we also recognise that the payment of tax by multi-national companies has a global effect, and that the poorest countries are also often losing out on unpaid tax. We are looking for a commitment from the next UK government to legislate in this area to ensure that taxes are paid by companies both here in the UK and abroad to ensure a fairer society. Would you support legislation for more transparency and to close the loopholes to allow companies to avoid tax?
We believe that the effects of climate change are being felt both here in the UK and in developing countries. The UK could play an important role in key European climate change talks this year and global talks regarding sustainability goals. Therefore please can you tell us how your party’s manifesto and proposed programme for government would commit the UK to:
1. Prevent climate change pushing people deeper into poverty overseas
2. Support a transition from polluting fossil fuels, to sustainable energy which meets the needs of the poorest communities around the world?
SPEAK is campaigning as a network for food sovereignty - where food is grown and shared as though people and planet mattered; where people have control over where their food comes from, how it is grown, and access to land and markets as needed. We do not believe this happens both here in the UK and across the world. We are concerned that DFID is effectively supporting “land grabs” in developing countries, where farm land is sold off to developers and not used to produce food. We also have concerns regarding the use of foodbanks increasing in our country. The report of the All-Party Parliamentary Inquiry into Hunger in the United Kingdom (December 2014) concluded that benefit delays and sanctions were one of the main reasons for this increase in the UK and yet nothing has been done about this. Please can you let us know how you would seek to address the role DFID is playing regarding land sales in developing countries? What would your party do to address the problems with benefit delays here in the UK?
We look forward to hearing from you with your opinions on these subjects and how you would seek to tackle these issues, should you be elected to the next UK parliament.
Norwich SPEAK Group