Luke Pollard's message to Plymouth as he announces MP bid

Labour candidate Luke Pollard has outlined the future of the NHS, Devonport Dockyard and the city centre as key battlegrounds for Plymouth in the general election. Mr Pollard, who has served as Labour MP for Sutton and Devonport since 2017, has launched his campaign for re-election and highlighted housing, defence and dental access as vital - but said the overarching theme is “change” for the city and nation.

He said Labour is focussing on returning MPs in his constituency and snatching Moor View from the Tories’ Johnny Mercer. Mr Pollard said: “Our goal is to win two Labour MPs in Plymouth, not only returning the seat I have held since 2017 but also winning Moor View.

“It’s time for change. I have not met anyone on the doors that disagrees with the fact that we need change. So it’s about what changes we can deliver. We are not making grand promises that are unfunded. We are setting out what changes we can make and where the money will come from to pay for it.”

Here are the key issues Mr Pollard is campaigning on:

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More housing

Mr Pollard said the city needs to build more homes. He said: “The way we will create money is by getting the economy growing.

“In Plymouth that means getting the city building again. We want 1.5million houses nationally and 5,000 homes built in plympton>Plymouth city centre. I want density, which means building up, but affordable, homes that people need.”

Dockyard jobs

Mr Pollard said a Labour government would protect Devonport dockyard, the Royal Navy’s submarines and jobs. He said: “I want to create work in the dockyard.

“We have a commitment from John Healey (shadow Secretary of State for Defence) about supporting submarine work, building four new Dreadnought Class subs at Barrow, and also continuing delivery of the continuous at-sea deterrent, and making sure it has the upgrade.

“That is good news for Devonport. The vast majority of jobs in Devonport dockyard are related to submarines.”

Military accommodation

Mr Pollard said military housing was in vital need of an upgrade and the party had outlined plans for an armed forces commissioner. He said there is military housing in Plymouth with black mould and other issues which need to be addressed urgently.

“Morale is falling in the military and we are seeing people leaving the forces at a time when we need them in uniform,” he said. “Sorting out the awful state of defence housing is a priority.”

NHS and dentistry

The Labour politician said a key priority for the public is the future of healthcare, with dentistry a major topic. He said: “The NHS comes up more than anything else on the doors, so we have to get it back on its feet.”

Mr Pollard is working with the University of Plymouth’s Peninsula Dental School and Plymouth City Council on creating a £4m NHS dental surgery for the city centre. He said: “We need to expand the number of NHS dental appointments.”

He is keen to develop a major health hub in the city centre and said: “I still want a health village in the Colin Campbell Court area. We lost the funding for a super health hub but do have it for a community diagnostic centre and want more services moving from Derriford to the city centre bringing health to the high street and giving people a reason to the city centre to make it more vibrant with more people accessing health services in a quicker way.”

Gun law reform

The Sutton and Devonport candidate said he will continue to push for gun law changes following the Keyham shooting tragedy of 2021. He said: “I’m keen to make sure we continue with gun law reform and if elected I will continue to push for a modernisation of our gun laws following the tragedy in Keyham. It can’t be right that our gun laws are so outdated.”

Tackling poverty

Mr Pollard said it is important to attract more investment into Plymouth because it has been short changed. He said: “We need to keep investing in the South West - we don’t get our fair share.

“We have had Tory MPs as far as the eye can see and yet poverty and hunger are on the rise with more people using food banks than ever before. I represent areas with deep pockets of deprivation. Having a healthy home and food is vital.”

More teachers

Mr Pollard said that a Labour government will bring more teachers and breakfast clubs to the city’s schools, with mental health support for youngsters too. He said: “Every school will have a breakfast club under a Labour government.

“By closing the tax loophole in private schools will put more teachers into schools and mental health professionals into secondary schools to help young people with their mental health - a growing concern.”

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