The Politics Column - this week, Tony Lywood, Labour's prospective parliamentary candidate for Copeland:

While campaigning, I am often asked questions like: why do I have to travel to Carlisle to have my baby rather than Whitehaven? If I am depressed, why do I have to wait for months to get any proper treatment? Why is care for my elderly parent so limited?

Why, if I have a disability, do I have to go through a humiliating interview to receive crucial support?

Why is our local railway line underfunded, with poor rolling stock?

Where have the police stations in Millom, Egremont, Keswick and Cleator Moor gone?

Why does my daughter have to wait seven days to see a doctor?

Why are the street lights not maintained as they once were?

Why are there so many potholes in our once well-maintained roads?

In our proud corner of West Cumbria, what has happened to our public services?

The answer behind all these questions is that we have a government in power that believes that big business and corporations should provide the services we would normally associate with publicly-owned bodies.

The Conservatives don’t want to properly fund our public services because they don’t really believe in them, and would prefer private firms to run things.

But they are wrong, and this policy of underfunding and privatising our public services has failed.

A classic example of this are buses which, without subsidy, must all now make a profit. The ‘bus service’ is now no longer a ‘service’ but run by a profit-making corporation, which is why there is no longer a bus service to Moor Row, Moresby and St Bees.

The Tories have made cuts across the board in Copeland.

Just one astonishing example of this is our own Copeland Borough Council, where the government’s Revenue Support Grant from 2013/14 to 2019/20 has been reduced from £3million to just £30,000.

Labour says that if there are billions to bail out the bankers and give the rich tax cuts then there is enough money for a publicly-owned decent education system, a properly-funded National Health Service, better transport infrastructure and good care for our elderly.

The local Tory MP Mrs Trudy Harrison, despite her warm words for Copeland, has voted time and time again with her Conservative colleagues in London for more cuts to public services which directly damage the very people she was elected to represent.

If we do not challenge this agenda and change this government, then expect more austerity, more underfunding, more outsourcing, more privatisation and yet more inequality in Copeland.