ELECTION: What matters most to Lincolnshire’s all-important voters? #GE2015

The Louth & Horncastle candidate (not including Lisa Gabriel, Lib Dems.)
The Louth & Horncastle candidate (not including Lisa Gabriel, Lib Dems.)

Every minute of every day, we’ve been bombarded with messages from all the political parties about what they will do - if they win the General Election.

According to the latest polls, exactly who will form the next Government is too close to call.

Horncastle's election hustings 2015 EMN-150421-120553001

Horncastle's election hustings 2015 EMN-150421-120553001

Will the Prime Minster be David Cameron or Ed Miliband?

Or, will be facing another coalition as one big parties relies on support to take overall control.

How will UKIP fare?

And will the Greens finally make a big impact nationally?

About the only thing that is certain is all the speculation will be over by Friday when the results from Thursday’s election will be announced.

Reporter JOHN FIELDHOUSE went out on the streets of Lincolnshire to find out how local people might vote - and what the important issues are.

The Health Service, education, pensions and immigration. They appear to be the big four issues for local voters in Thursday’s General Election.

The News has spoken to more than 70 voters in a bid to gauge opinion ahead of the election - including several first time voters.

Perhaps one of the most interesting discoveries was that almost a third of the people we spoke to had still to decide which party to back.

It appears support for the Conservatives has held up well with Victoria Atkins impressing many in her battle to take over from the respected and redoubtable Sir Peter Tapsell.

According to the polls, UKIP’s Colin Mair could run her close and there was support on the streets for the Coningsby-based County Councillor.

Many voters called for increased spending across the constituency - to improve health services and generate new jobs.

The poor condition of roads - and concerns about bus services - were other regularly mentioned topics.

Some first time voters said they faced a tough decision - staying in the area to fight for the few jobs around or move to other parts of the country.

At the other end of the age scale, pensioners said they were concerned about possible cuts to many services - including policing -and the cost of home care.

Many voters also called for more protection for the Wolds, particularly when it comes to the new homes.

They say the infrastructure is not in place to cope, particularly with regard to schools and health provision.

Alan Stretton was one of many people who said he had yet to decide which way to vote.

He added: “I’ve usually voted Conservative but I’m not certain this time.

“I like a lot of what UKIP say, especially about immigration, but I’m not so sure what a lot of their policies are on anything else.

“There’s also a worry that voting UKIP might be a wasted vote because nationally, I don’t see them getting enough seats to make a difference.”

Ian Jenkinson said he was a staunch Labour supporter and would be backing Matthew Brown, even though he was not confident of victory in the seat.

He added: “It’s mainly a rural area so the Tories always win here, but there might be a pretty big protest vote.

“I don’t like what they’ve done with the health services and I think it’s right there will be a lot more cuts in welfare if they get back in.

“For me, Labour are a lot safer, although I’d be happier with a stronger leader. I think we made a mistake going for Miliband.”

Irene Davies said the health service would be a key factor in the way she voted.

She added: “My parents are about to go into a nursing home and the amount of forms and other things is staggering.

“We’re not so sure on the financial implications. They’ve worked hard all their lives and now it could end up costing them their savings. If they’d been on benefits it would have been a lot different.”
Mum of two Linda Taylor said education was the key for her.

She said: “I’ve got one daughter at nursery school and she was lucky to get a place.

“My other daughter is starting at primary school in September and again, we’ve been lucky getting our first choice.

“But some parents I know haven’t been as lucky. It seems wrong that when you’ve a school virtually on your doorstep, you have to send your children three miles down the road.”

Her friend Mollie Stephenson said she was concerned about the cost of sending her teenage son to secondary school.

She added: “We’re going to have to start paying for bus fares on a pretty regular basis.

“I think we might get some back but it would be nice if the Government made some allowances. They need to get up here and see what it’s like.”

Several voters called for an increase in health service spending with one describing facilities locally as “dire.”

Linda Anderson said: “Have you tried getting an appointing at the doctors in Horncastle? You have to be ill two weeks in advance.

“It’s not their fault because they’ve got so many patients, but according to the papers they are going to build so many homes.

“One of my kids was ill recently and we had to take them to hospital in Boston - almost 30-miles away. The nurses there were brilliant but there weren’t enough of them.

“I know there’s a hospital at Louth but no-one seems to know what that offers.”

Pensioner Ian Verity said he was disappointed none of the candidates had knocked on his front door.

He said: “It would have been nice to speak to someone face-to-face.

“We’ve have so many leaflets delivered, it’s been like a paper factory some days. No wonder all the forests are disappearing.

“I don’t trust politicians from any party. I just hope whoever gets in puts the country first and not themselves, but that’s expecting too much.

“The wife will vote but I’m not so sure I will. They are all as bad as each other. They promise everything and don’t deliver.”

First time vote Maggie Steel said was undecided about who to back. She added: “I like the Greens for a lot of what they are trying to do.

“In terms of energy and resources, we have to do something about the future otherwise the next generation will have nothing.

“But I can’t see the Greens getting enough MPs. My parents always vote Lib Dems but they are thinking of changing.

“I’m not sure what I’ll do.”

Another first time voter - Andy Taylor - said he wanted a Government that would create jobs and improve student education.

He added: “I’m looking for a job but there’s not that much about in this area. I can’t recently see that changing.

“A lot of my friends have moved away. That can’t be good. I’d quite fancy college but that means a journey to Lincoln and back every day. There needs to be more investment in rural areas.”