From cost of living to 'moral decline': Middlesbrough voters on key General Election issues

With the 2024 General Election on the horizon, Teesside Live spoke to shoppers in Middlesbrough town centre ahead of July 4. People had their say on key policies, and told us what they think of Conservative Party leader Rishi Sunak, and Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer.

There were several issues that came up when asking the shoppers and businesspeople of the town centre what mattered to them in this election campaign. The NHS, social care and the prospects of young people were raised. In addition, the state pension was spoken about and the policies of Nigel Farage.

Residents had deep concerns about the state of the town centre - which will fall under the Middlesbrough and Thornaby East constituency - and this was visually striking when walking down the street and seeing the big-name shops of yesteryear hidden behind metal shutters.

There was a sense of apathy from many people who did not want to speak at length. A common theme for both those working in local businesses and those walking along Linthorpe Road was a firm belief that no matter which political party is in power, nothing will change.

A few people thought that voting was futile and were more than happy to share that they either don’t vote or would not be voting this time around. There was a belief amongst some local people that the Conservatives were not going to win the upcoming election, yet limited optimism about what the future held under a Labour government.

Ibby Hussain, 54, owner of Super Games World, said: “With obviously what has gone on with the Tories over the last 14/15 years, it’s not been obviously great”. He felt that the country had been fed lies by the politicians.

A downbeat Eric said the most important issues for him were: "The moral decline of the nation. What kind of education young people are getting. The disregard of our national heritage." Dave added "The immigration issue, the lack of resources that we have."

Helena Archer, 52, thinks the next Government needs to "correct the wrongs of the previous two administrations.. She added: "This Government is in need of desperate change. However, I think Rishi Sunak and Keir Starmer are two wings of the same bird, driven by the WEF at the moment. It's the first time I've been disillusioned politics, ever."

Marrie Wieczorek, 66, said: "Obviously cost of living is massive. I hear a lot of students go on about how the pensioners have a good deal, but when you're on a state pension there's no good deal at all."

Bilal was simply worried about local issues. He said: Right at the moment the thing I just want to discuss is to just keep an eye on what's going on round here. Most of the shops are closing down."

Alf, 84, a self-professed Tory, was fearful of a Labour government: “I’m open to the idea that it doesn’t hurt to change a government, but what are they going to offer us? We think we have chaos now, but I think they’ll be a greater chaos when they get in… When we vote a Labour government in, Mr. Putin will be delighted.”

There were plenty of mixed views on Nigel Farage on offer. However, when asked about his impact on the election, multiple people said that they did not know of him. Mr. Farage carried less name recognition than either the Prime Minister or Sir Keir Starmer.

When asked about Mr. Farage, Mr. Hussain said that “I don’t think that I would be voting for him but yeah I agree with some of the policies that he’s got.”

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