Eric Ollerenshaw, Lancaster and Fleetwood
The Conservative candidate for Lancaster and Fleetwood said that there would still be “difficult decisions” to be made but was confident his party would get the economy back on track.
Eric Ollerenshaw, a former history teacher, who was MP for Lancaster between 2010 and 2015, said his loss at the last election “hit him hard”.
He said he had since been doing charity work, and has become a trustee of one charity focusing on social cohesion.
He said of the upcoming election: “The choice is stark, the future of Lancaster is the future of the country.
“We want Brexit to work for the UK and for it to work for us locally.
“This is an historic moment in time, and a fundamental shift in the future development of this country, and we need that strong leadership to get us through it.”
Mr Ollerenshaw said he stood by his vote on cuts to local government funding.
“Fundamental decisions had to be taken. It was austerity.
“The economy is getting back on track, but we still have a massive deficit.
“There has to be some re-appraisal of where the money goes. There will still have to be some belt-tightening.
“I voted for those cuts positively to secure the baseline of our economy. There’s some more difficult decisions to be taken.”
Mr Ollerenshaw said there is still the need to get more investment into Lancaster University’s innovation park, as well as getting the canal corridor development underway.
“I also want the best deal for farmers from Brexit, and to incorporate all the regulations for our uplands and flora and fauna too,” he said.
Mr Ollerenshaw, who voted to leave the EU said: “I thought the campaign on both sides was appalling.
“I did vote to come out partly due to the patronising attitude of the other side.
“We can make the best of this and still have a very good trading relationship with Europe.”
He said the fact that foodbank use was increasing is a “scandal”, but that they were started under Tony Blair.
He also said there would be no cuts to school budgets and that the Labour Party is “whipping up scenarios”.
“No school budget will be lost when the new school funding formula comes in.
“Teachers’ pension deals have been improved and this is a balancing act. Would the teachers rather a reduction in their pensions?
“I wouldn’t have joined that march.”
Mr Ollerenshaw said that if elected, he would push for a recalculation of the housing figures for the district in the wake of the decision to leave the EU, and would also seek to reinstate the Land Drainage Board and push for more regular clearing of dykes and river channels to improve the city’s resilience to flooding.
For the full video interview, visit www.lancasterguardian.co.uk and our Facebook page in the week leading up to the election.