Paul Bidwell is the Labour party candidate for Bracknell.

He is a town councillor for Priestwood and has lived in the borough for more than 20 years.

What are the top three issues affecting Bracknell residents?

"Housing is absolutely the top of the list. The lack of housing, or more importantly the lack of affordable housing and social housing in the Bracknell area has meant a lot of overcrowding in existing houses where children seem to be staying at home a lot longer. That adds to the congestion because now houses have two or three cars outside them. That brings its own sort of stress to the infrastructure.

"When you have adults living together in one house, even though they’re family, it adds to the pressures within that family so that then adds to mental health issues, which is a further strain on the local service, which is the next big priority. With the continual cutting of health service budgets, waiting lists are getting longer. The government hasn’t met any targets for over four years.

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It’s something that Labour fixed way back in the Noughties, and it’s gradually got worse and worse and worse and we cannot continue to have patients being left in corridors, overcrowding and very long waiting lists. It’s just perpetuating the circle of stress, strain and an added burden on the emergency services.

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"That leads to a third - but not in priority because arguably this should be the top priority - and that’s of course education. We have only one special needs school in the area, which is appalling, we have various cuts at nearly every school. If you go to the website it details so many millions of pounds that are being restricted from all Bracknell schools. A move to academies is somewhat being tempered with in co-operation with the local authority, but that is a really scary place to be. Private individuals can set up an academy, get lots of money from the government and then fail. We need to be very clear that a lot more money needs to be pumped into Bracknell schools. They would be the three priorities: education, national health service and affordable housing."

What is your vision for Bracknell?

"I think it needs more influx of jobs. I think it something that has been woeful and there has been no initiative to entice businesses to what is a lovely place to work. Communication links are excellent. I cannot understand for the life of me why Bracknell has not been a flashing bulb for investment for industries around the country.

"Certainly, there are businesses that could move out of London and follow the trend of people moving from West London to live here."

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What is your connection to Bracknell?

"As a local councillor now re-elected, and a trustee of two charities in the area I have engaged with the community very well. Obviously, they’re not paid jobs so I have to work as well but I think I manage my time quite well and any opportunity to go to local events or charity events, like the teddy bear picnic the council runs, or events the town council organises. I also take casework from constituents. Not surprisingly mainly that’s parking, it tends to be, but there are other anti-social behaviour issues that I take cause about.

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"I also engage with Thames Valley Police to understand what are the hotspots of crime in the area and I think that all can be accelerated phenomenally if elected MP and I can make good use of that position to help the community generally and certainly a lot better than the absentee MPs we’ve had before. Interestingly every single MP PPCs (prospective candidates) from all parties said they’re going to move into Bracknell. This was promised by Phillip Lee last time, he never did it. I actually live here. I’m on the electoral register, people can check it out, I have no intentions of moving anywhere and I will dedicate my working life to helping all of Bracknell residents enjoy the benefits of Bracknell, not just a few."

Which of Labour’s policies would be beneficial for Bracknell residents?

[Talking about Labour's pledge to offer free broadband nationwide] "I’ve just come back from a trip to Asia, to Beijing and Shanghai. It was a personal trip, not a business trip, and I was absolutely blown away with how connected they are. Everything is done by mobile phone, there’s no problem with coverage. I think it was noted in the press that 97% of people in Japan have access to a fibre broadband connection. In this country, it’s something like 21 per cent, which is absolutely appalling for a country which is technology-led. The two policies I think are absolutely vital to help Bracknell are the universal education programme. From cradle to grave, education free at the point of delivery, the end of tuition fees.

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"And of course, the abolishment of prescription fees and any medical fees, cradle to grave as well. Those two things I think are the cornerstones for a massive, progressive leap forward for the Labour Party."

What makes a good MP?

"Quite easy. One that’s visible, one that’s approachable and one that stands up for Bracknell and people know who he is. I don’t think many people knew who Phillip Lee was, and he had a second job as a GP. I would devote my time exclusively to being an MP and some of the charities that I’m involved in and probably grow those interactions as well. Understanding your client base in the business world is very important. As an MP, it’s understanding your community base.

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"I wouldn’t be an absentee MP - I was quite horrified there hadn’t been any surgeries in the borough for 20 odd years. Not just with Phillip Lee, but with Andrew McKay before that. How can residents connect with parliament, if they do not have access to their member of parliament? I will certainly to change that around. I will make every attempt to meet with as many local groups, organisations and small businesses as I can and try and raise the flag for Bracknell so I can make it a beacon in parliament for the priorities I have already suggested."