You may not have heard of him – and the likelihood is you have never heard of the political party he represents – but Matt Jeal is on a mission in Fenland to change that.
He’s been announced today as a candidate for next month’s elections for Fenland District Council for the Breakthrough Party.
He is the party’s only candidate among the 43 seats up for grabs on Fenland Council and subscribes to a political party which some may regard as common sense – others of course will have a different view.
To give you a flavour of the Breakthrough Party they want to:
1: Invest in the construction of at least 150,000 new council homes per year and introduce rent controls in the private rented sector.
2: Nationalise public transport and work towards making bus, train and tram travel free at the point of use.
3: Bring in a Proportional Representation voting system in all UK elections and lower the voting age to 16.
4: Introduce a £15 minimum wage and promote a transition to a 4-day working week without loss of pay.
Matt is one of eight candidates vying for 3 seats on the district council in his home town of Chatteris and in the south ward.
“I’ve lived in Chatteris for 10 years now,” he says.
“I brought my first home here, I got married in St Peters and St Paul’s church, my children were born at Hinchingbrooke Hospital and brought home to Chatteris. To say it’s a town I care about is an understatement.”-
Matt says: “Chatteris is a mostly quiet but close-knit community of people who, on the face of it, don’t expect much. Most of the people I talk to have the same complaints, yet nothing is being done to address them.
“The people make their voice heard to the local government and are mostly ignored. People need someone willing to listen to them, to empathise with them and to make the right choices for the benefit of this town.
Better not bigger
“We need to make Chatteris better, not just bigger. Building housing is incredibly important but so is investing in the services that support our community. We’ve almost lost complete access to bus services and our health services are overstretched.
“The age-old jokes about the amount of pot holes just aren’t funny anymore. And the constant increases in council tax rates just add insult to injury, especially when much of it is going to policing while trust in our local police services is so low.
“That we’re one of the lowest areas for education spending in the entire country is shameful, especially when the wonderful education staff in our town do such a fantastic job.”
Time we had a voice
Matt says: “The public made it very clear how much we care about our local wildlife, and yet housing developments still threaten particular areas of biodiversity, while the council maligns those who campaign to do something about it.
“I’m running for Fenland District Council because I understand what residents are experiencing as I’m experiencing it myself. I want the people of our town to have a voice and, together, make Chatteris a place to be proud of.
“We need a community-run bank so that people don’t have to rely on the big corporate banks in other towns that were so willing to abandon us.
“We need good access to public transportation so that we can get to work, go shopping or enjoy ourselves, and so that our children can get to school or go out with their friends. Chatteris shouldn’t be a place where you have to own your own car just to live.
“We need sustainable, affordable housing so that families can grow and thrive, not so that property developers can see a return on investment or landlords can have someone else pay off their mortgage.
“We need green energy initiatives in our community so we can break our dependency on energy providers who see record profits, whilst we see our energy bills skyrocket.”
Real alternative to status quo
He adds: “I’m running for the Breakthrough Party because it’s clear that we need a real alternative to the status quo.”
Editor’s note: There are 97 declared candidates for the May 4th election. We will, of course, be looking at the issues, spotlighting the candidates, and drawing attention to some of the wards where a battle to the finish line is going to provide fascinating onlooker appeal.
Leverington and Wisbech rural, for instance, have two candidates described on their nomination paper as Alliance for Democracy and Freedom ADF.
Alliance for Democracy and Freedom (ADF) says it champions local democracy and is “uniquely the only British political party established by the people, for the people and it does not operate a centralised national whip as that would ignore local demographics and requirements”.
Intriguing too, are the elections for Wisbech Town Council. More on that to follow.
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