My name is Neil Hughes and I live near Penrith. Although trained as a teacher I currently work in a bookshop and have taught both in Britain and abroad e.g. Poland. I have worked in Carlisle for the Rural Payments Agency and also undertaken training courses here – including counselling and church courses. For eight years I assisted the national homelessness charity Crisis giving talks in schools and colleges on how to avoid debt and homelessness situations. I am also currently a board member of Eden housing association (who have several projects in Carlisle) and a Citizens’ Advice bureau trustee.
As a councillor in Eden my chief interests include improving our environment, providing affordable housing, assisting young people and improving public transport. For several years I was vice-chair of a youth work partnership and I have campaigned with similar vigour, and an amount of success, for improvements in local bus services, recognising that rail provision here in Cumbria also requires overwhelming improvement.
I unreservedly support small businesses and have fought for their interests in Penrith in the face of the disastrous progress of the New Squares scheme there, attending a variety of events hosted by the local chamber of trade.
I am also involved in Cumbria LINk (Yes, this is correct spelling!) which represents the public and patients in consultations on new and existing developments in health and social care. – for example I have upheld local concerns relating to the chosen London Road site for Carlisle medical group’s prospective GP practice.
In my free time I enjoy walking, travelling and listening to music of many kinds.
I see the Liberal Democrats representing all sections of society bar the super-rich, at a time when – under thirteen years of Labour – inequality between the poorest and most well-off in our society is worse even than it was under Thatcher & Major. I am delighted to have been selected as Lib Dem PPC and look forward to meeting as many people of Carlisle as possible before the election.