'We do need a change': Hartlepool voters on housing policy ahead of the election

A sun-soaked marina was available for all to enjoy on Monday afternoon. Looking out over the clear, blue water, most pub goers were basking in the heat.

Teesside Live ventured to the Hartlepool constituency, to gauge the political temperature as General Election campaigns enter their penultimate week. We are speaking to residents all over Teesside ahead of July 4.

The seat is the most recent Labour to Tory switch in the entire country, because of Jill Mortimer’s victory in the 2021 by-election, when then Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, was at the height of his power. However, some of the people who lent their support to the Tories in recent elections explained how they were less inclined to do so this time around.

David, a support worker who turns 63 on Sunday, explained how he had been one of the many people who was willing to give the Tories a chance last time around. However, he does not believe that this trust has been repaid and will be returning to the Labour Party at this general election.

“Last time I voted for the Conservatives, I won’t vote for them again. I’ve always been Labour and I gave Boris Johnson a chance. Sunak’s just for his own. He’s no good for the likes of us – working class – he’s not bothered about us.”

Prior to his current job, David was a health care assistant for mental health in the NHS. He said that his experiences had impacted his views. “I think we need a change, so I’m willing to give Keir Starmer a chance. I’m not saying he’s the top dog for the job, but I think at the present moment, we do need a change”.

One woman who was sat at the marina, watching a boat docking, mentioned several issues in this year’s general election that were vital to her: “NHS dentistry, you cannot get hold of an NHS dentist at all, and I need one but can’t get hold of one.

“The arts, theatres… the NHS itself, cost of living mainly. Even though inflation has gone down, the cost is still going up.”

When voters were asked how best to tackle the housing crisis in this country, a variety of solutions were suggested. Some people admitted they were not sure what could be done about it. Solutions included simply building more houses.

Alternatively, some people were keen to point to houses that were sitting empty and how they could be inhabited. The high cost of rent was also brought up as a burden.

The full list of candidates standing in the Hartlepool constituency are listed below:

  • Jonathon Brash, Labour Party

  • Tommy Dudley, Workers Party of Britain

  • Sam Lee, Independent

  • Peter Maughan, Liberal Democrats

  • Jill Mortimer, Conservative and Unionist Party

  • Amanda Napper, Reform UK

  • Vivienne Neville, Heritage Party

  • Jeremy Spyby-Steanson, Green Party