Ask The Candidates: Ealing Southall

Your chance to put your questions to the main contenders

Are you unsure about how to vote? Perhaps you have questions you would like the candidates to answer to help you decide.

Ealing Today member George Montgomery wants each of the candidates to answer the following:

1. What steps will you personally take to promote job creation locally.

2. What will you be doing to promote business growth, and encourage new businesses to set up locally.

3. What past record do you have of supporting business and jobs growth.

4. How much of your time and resources will you use to promote economic growth in the area, if elected.

Here are their replies:


Virendra Sharma

Labour Party

Virendra Sharma


Gurcharan Singh

Conservative Party

Gurcharan Singh


Nigel Bakhai

Liberal Democrats

Nigel Bakhai

1. The Labour campaign locally and nationally is all about securing the recovery and saving and creating local jobs. The country is emerging from the toughest economic crisis in living memory and yet we have not suffered from the levels of job losses that happened under the Tory recessions of the 80s and 90s. This is down to the decisive action of Gordon Brown and the Labour government. To protect the recovery and jobs we need to continue with government spending this year not take £6 billion out of the economy as the Tories propose. The Tory plans would plunge us back into recession and cause hundreds of job losses locally. I will campaign to elect a Labour government because this is the best way to secure the recovery and protect local jobs. On a local level I will continue to work closely with the Council and local businesses to ensure that everything is being done to support the local economy and create jobs. I will work closely with local schools and colleges to encourage our young people to be educated, trained and skilled to take up jobs that need to be done and I will also look to promote more apprenticeships in our area for young people.

2.One of the biggest impacts on local business growth will be the building of Crossrail. I have been campaigning for Crossrail for many years as it will transform the transport links for the area linking Ealing Southall with the West End and the City. It will bring lots of jobs through its construction and also give many local people opportunities to more easily access jobs across the capital. It will also make Ealing Southall an even better location to set up business in given the transport links to thriving markets and Heathrow that it will provide businesses a first class base for their entreprenurial activity. The Labour Party has given a cast iron guarantee that Crossrail will be fully funded and go ahead. The Tories have refused to give such a guarantee and it is now in doubt if Crossrail will go ahead if the Tories win the election. I will continue to work to ensure that Crossrail benefits the local economy to the maximum and I will also work with a Labour government to ensure every help is given to new businesses wanting to set up in the area. Currently the Labour government encourages new local businesses to set up in the Borough by allowing the Council to retain the business rates from any new business start ups and this is something that needs to continue.

3.I regularly meet with business leaders and owners in the local area and try to assist them with any problems they may be having on an individual business basis. If a small business is having problems with planning permissions, business rate or tax payments I have always been ready to help by intervening with the local Council or the government. If I am re-elected I will continue to do this as a priority. Getting a thriving local economy and saving and creating jobs is the most important challenge facing all of us and I will work tirelessly to help bring this about.
I will continue to work closely with local schools and colleges to ensure that they are producing the skilled workforce that our businesses need.

4.As I have said protecting the recovery and creating jobs is vital for the well-being of the local area and so this is my number one priority. I will give maximum time and resources to help promote economic growth and prosperity in the area.


1. Within three months of being elected as MP, I will call for a summit of all businesses in Ealing Southall to come together to bring forward ideas to lift the local economy. It could be about promoting the area as place to do business, or shaping government policy to allow businesses to thrive through better infrastructure or an end to high taxes. I think for long time local businesses have felt voiceless, and I want to provide that voice, and to ensure the message gets through to those in power.

2. The immediate result of a Conservative victory at the election will be that Labour’s planned national insurance rise will be stopped dead in its tracks. I think stopping this tax on jobs will be enormously helpful in Southall, Hanwell and Ealing as many businesses have had to think very carefully as to whether they can go on employing the people they do. The recovery will be very precarious and I strongly believe that hitting employers just when they might be looking forward to growth and taking on more people is the wrong thing to do. The other thing I am looking forward to seeing with a Conservative Government is automatic business rate relief for small businesses. By getting rid of some of the bureaucracy that surrounds rate relief we can ensure all small businesses benefit from the relief they are entitled to and then save some of the jobs that small business employs.

3. As a councillor I have done much to push for new business. Hanwell and Southall look so much better than they did four years ago as we have sorted out street cleaning. In Southall we have many more streets that are cleaned daily and the wheelie bins have helped deal with the rat problem. All this goes to make the are a more attractive place to come and do business. Our Town Centre Regeneration programme, again which is designed to bring people in to the area to shop and do business, has seen £2 million invested in Southall Town Centre and £1M for Hanwell. And I have taken steps to improve parking in Southall – with the introduction of dual use car parking in Southall Broadway – as well as plans to find a car park site.

4. I will press for economic growth in the area by taking the concerns of business seriously and lobbying all I can to bring growth and jobs into the area. Successive Labour MPs have ignored Southall business, believing that they could safely be ignored as they do not vote. But businesses employ people and we need to encourage opportunities for our residents to be employed locally. I want to see a prosperous Ealing Southall where people want to come set up business to take advantage of our unique cultural mix and good transport links. The prosperity to Ealing Southall will not and can not be achieved in isolation. Therefore , I will liaise other MPs of the region , irrespective of their political affiliation to formulate region based policies.


1. West Ealing, Hanwell and Southall town centres are all in desperate need of regeneration and I will use my position to influence Ealing Council to increase its regeneration budget for these areas which are often neglected. For example, in the 2009-2010 financial year, Ealing Council spent £1million in Hanwell, £1.7million in West Ealing and £2million in Southall but spent over £5million on Greenford alone so Lib Dems want to see fairness in the way that regeneration money is allocated across the borough. Secondly, it is important that the Government after May sets the right conditions for economic recovery and if I am elected as part of a Liberal Democrat Government, we will begin our term of office with a one-year economic stimulus and job creation package of £3.1 billion which will be used to create 100,000 jobs nationally with the aim of cutting carbon emissions at the same time. Some of this money would be spent locally and create local jobs promoting energy efficiency, replacing boilers, insulating public buildings and bringing empty homes back into use. Thirdly, we need to build on Ealing Council's Shop Local scheme and I will work with local traders groups such as Hanwell Association of Traders to encourage residents to shop locally and new shops to join these schemes. For example, in Hanwell Corner Carpets is cheaper than Carpetright so it doesn't just benefit their local town centre but it also makes economic sense for people to shop locally. By working together the shops will also have much more economic power to advertise and promote the area. Finally, I also think we need to make sure that when new shops are built that they have access to high speed broadband so they are better able to take advantage of the power of the internet in marketing their goods and services.

2. In addition to the steps outlined in response to question 1, Lib Dems also support the establishment of Local Enterprise Funds and Regional Stock Exchanges. Local Enterprise Funds will help local investors put money into growing businesses in their own part of the country and support the development of new products from research to production. Regional Stock Exchanges will be a route for businesses to access equity without the heavy regulatory requirements of a City of London listing.

3. My father is a businessman and in the past has ran a chain of pharmacies, shops, warehouses and restaurants so I have spent much of my early life working in the family business. I currently work for Xerox in an Operations role in their Developing Markets Organisation head office where my job involves supporting the Xerox businesses in areas like Russia, India and Africa. Finally, I have always tried to lead by example and shop locally wherever possible and in my role as Chair of the Hanwell Steering Group, I worked with the previous Labour administration on Ealing Council in identifying shops for shop front improvement in the Hanwell area, which included a new front door and window for the local Post Office and various shops in Hanwell town centre.

4. While the vast majority of my time will be spent dealing with casework and the concerns of residents, I will commit to dedicate a great deal of my time in my first term in parliament towards regenerating our town centres which have been sadly ignored for many years by councils more concerned with planning new housing than economic development.


Information and related stories

Do you have any questions about local issues for the candidates?

send them to

Who is Standing in Ealing Southall (pdf)

Who is Aiming to be Your MP?

Election Candidates on Ealing Broadway Station

All Eyes on Ealing for Elections


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April 21st, 2010