Derek Florey is the Green Party candidate for Bracknell.

He has lived in Bracknell all his life and has worked at South Hill Park Arts Centre in various roles for twelve years.

What do you think are the top three issues affecting Bracknell residents?

"First of all, cuts to services. The council has had to undergo quite a significant number of cuts to services which I would oppose. If elected I would ensure they are reversed and make sure the council is properly funded.

"Other issues I would say include the rising cost of travel. [This] makes it difficult for people to take public transport because of their ridiculous hikes in prices. That is something I would also seek to change.

"I think the third issue for me would be making sure everybody has enough to live on and has a decent living wage.

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"I have noticed various reports in the area that people are earning less and they’re suffering from low wages. That’s something I would seek to change.

"We have a target of £12 living wage per hour standard and we would extend that to 16-21-year-olds."

What is your vision for Bracknell?

"I would ensure the town is ready to tackle the climate emergency. We have a vision to insulate every home in the country. One million homes would get a full retrofit. We would focus on low-income households which decrease energy bills, which is something a lot of people are suffering with.

"I would ensure we also have a plan to give councils an extra £10 billion per year to help with frontline services. We would also support councils that support local arts, libraries, things like that.

Local Berkshire:

"Also people on low incomes and who are struggling, we would introduce a basic living wage, which would be £89 per week. This would result in a 6 per cent increase in disposable income for someone in full-time paid work on an average salary. It would be a weekly payment of £178 for pensioners and for people with disabilities, single-parent families and single pensioners, we would add an extra supplement to that to try and help people have a little bit more income and avoid poverty.

"One of the big issues in this area is food bank increases. My local church offers a homeless shelter once a week. It’s staggering the amount of people relying on homeless shelters and food banks."

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What is your connection to Bracknell?

"I’ve lived here my whole life, over thirty years. I’ve worked at South Hill Park for 12 years. I taught after school drama clubs at most of the schools in the area. Through South Hill Park I engaged in a lot of education and outreach programmes.

"My family also live in Bracknell. I think it’s significant if you’re living in the area, [because] you’re living in the day to day services the council provides and you get to see what’s going on in the area and experience it first hand. So for me, it is quite important to have that connection. I don’ just have that connection in Bracknell, I had family living in Crowthorne and a long-standing connection with Wokingham through friends, so I’m aware of all the different areas and have a good knowledge of them."

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Which Green Party policies do you think would benefit Bracknell residents?

"We would increase funding to the NHS to £6 billion per year, £1 billion for nurses and nurses training and we would reinstate the nursing bursary. That’s significant because we all rely on the NHS and it’s something that’s significant to us.

"The £10 billion in funding to councils and also the revolutionising of public transport, ensuring we have those transport links available. Cutting down congestion, because that has been an issue causing air pollution, which has been an issue for Bracknell."

"You cut down the congestion, you’re saving money on the NHS by making people healthier. That’s something that’s quite significant for me.

I think there’s a lot more we could do (in terms of taking more actions against climate change).

Local Berkshire:

"We need to make sure all new homes created are environmentally friendly, we need to ensure they are not built on green belt land and we are using homes that are currently unoccupied rather than building new homes. One of the policies we have is to give councils the power to utilise homes that are currently unoccupied, which is quite significant. We will also have policies to switch to renewable energy.

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"We would give councils the power to see if councils can produce their own renewable sources of energy so all of the energy comes from the local area as well, which would be significantly beneficial to the area. With lots of open space, there’s potential there.

What makes a good MP?

"The thing I enjoy about standing for election and standing as a councillor is the connection with the community and getting to know what people think. Whether we agree or disagree with the issues, it’s nice to communicate with the people.

"I think our [former] MP Phillip Lee has been decidedly absent from the area. I would ensure that I was communicating properly with the community, holding surgeries with them, and really be a presence in the area.

"I think there’s a lot of conflict sometimes when you can’t get your issues out there and can’t get your points of view across.

"I will find ways to communicate my thoughts and feelings on issues of significance and try to find ways of engaging the community to find out their opinions before votes. That personal connection is important."