UPDATED: Politicians go head to head in Bolton trade unions' first May Day debate

The Bolton News: Jacqueline Foster addresses the audience alongside fellow panel members. Jacqueline Foster addresses the audience alongside fellow panel members.

POLITICIANS and union activists went head to head at Bolton Trade Union Council’s first ever May Day debate.

More than 50 people came along to Bolton Central Library to pitch their questions to the panel, which included Bolton West MP Julie Hilling, Conservative MEP Jacqueline Foster, Green Party Euro MP candidate Laura Foster and vice president of the National Pensioners Convention Jan Shortt.

Various issues were debated including the impact of the ‘bedroom tax’, European Union membership, the formal creation of a living wage and reforms to pensions. Tensions hit fever pitch during the hustings on the topic of public sector pay.

Ms Foster, a former trade unionist while working for British Airways, said cuts were necessary following years of Labour spending and to keep Britain’s economic reputation internationally. She added: “I knew when I came here tonight that I was likely to be in the firing line but we live in a democracy where we can agree to disagree.

“I would like to see the public sector have more of a pay increase.

“We are seeing the economy improve, and the faster it improves that’s when we can get to the position where we can increase public sector pay.”

Ms Hilling disputed that the economic crash was the fault of Labour for ‘building schools and hospitals’.

She added: “I don’t believe there is a recovery when people still use food banks and a third of people using food banks are in work. It’s a disgrace.”

Comments (5)

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10:07am Fri 2 May 14

thealexweb says...

What was the point of discussing Europe is they tried to exclude UKIP?
What was the point of discussing Europe is they tried to exclude UKIP? thealexweb
  • Score: 0

2:48pm Fri 2 May 14

Hollieanne says...

I attended this event and found, unfortunately, that it was all one-sided. There was the Labour MP (I admired her passion), NPC (left), the Green Party MEP candidate who agreed with most of the Labour MP's comments but with more windfarms, and the Tory MEP. There was no representation from the LibDems or UKIP which was very disappointing. Add to this all the Union presence and it was like a Labour Party Conference! Also, when it was supposed to be about Europe I failed to understand why the teachers, bedroom tax etc. had to be brought into it.
I attended this event and found, unfortunately, that it was all one-sided. There was the Labour MP (I admired her passion), NPC (left), the Green Party MEP candidate who agreed with most of the Labour MP's comments but with more windfarms, and the Tory MEP. There was no representation from the LibDems or UKIP which was very disappointing. Add to this all the Union presence and it was like a Labour Party Conference! Also, when it was supposed to be about Europe I failed to understand why the teachers, bedroom tax etc. had to be brought into it. Hollieanne
  • Score: -1

8:11am Sat 3 May 14

ferdys says...

Who said it was supposed to be about Europe?
The flyers and posters I saw called it a May Day question time. They also clearly stated that the event was sponsored by Bolton and District Trades Council. If you want something different - organise your own event.

I attended too, as was refreshed by the wide range of questions from the public, and the professionalism of all panellists.
Who said it was supposed to be about Europe? The flyers and posters I saw called it a May Day question time. They also clearly stated that the event was sponsored by Bolton and District Trades Council. If you want something different - organise your own event. I attended too, as was refreshed by the wide range of questions from the public, and the professionalism of all panellists. ferdys
  • Score: 1

8:15am Sat 3 May 14

ferdys says...

Over 50?
I counted over 70 people in the audience.
Over 50? I counted over 70 people in the audience. ferdys
  • Score: 0

10:02pm Sat 3 May 14

steveG says...

Sounds like a complete non event attended by leftie pc bureaucrats.
Sounds like a complete non event attended by leftie pc bureaucrats. steveG
  • Score: 0

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