Election 2019

General election 2019: Voters in Norwich give their views

Schools, Brexit, healthcare and a fear of being overlooked. Voters in Norwich have been talking about the issues that matter to them as they prepare to go to the polls - some for the first time - in the general election on 12 December.

Image caption First-time voter Riki Buckles is still unsure which party he will go for

First-year film student Riki Buckles, 19, will be voting for the first time but is unsure which party he will back.

He moved to Norwich from Woodbridge, Suffolk, in September to study at Norwich University of the Arts and said he was concerned about the number of homeless people sleeping rough.

"I want a party that cares about the environment. Also, Brexit has been a big issue and that needs to be sorted," he said.

"What I want from politicians is someone who is more progressive and accepting of different kinds of people, regardless of racism and sexism."

Image caption Lauren Seal, who turns 21 next month, said she did not trust politicians to deliver on their election pledges

Arts student Lauren Seal, 20, has lived in Norwich for two years after growing up in Maidstone, Kent.

She did not vote in 2017 - her first opportunity - and said she had no plans to on 12 December because she did not trust politicians.

Live: General election coverage from Norwich

"I don't know that each party would make a practical difference," she said.

"Politicians make false promises so you don't know who to believe. You can't guarantee they are going to do what they say."

Image caption Skateboarder and international student Emanuel Štokelj, from Slovenia, said Brexit was the biggest political issue for him

Skateboarder Emanuel Štokelj, 19, originally from Slovenia, said he had registered to vote in the UK but was still deciding which party to back.

The second year University of East Anglia student said the biggest issue for him was Brexit and he would most likely vote for a pro-Remain candidate.

"I wanted to come to to the UK for education because my English is good, but it was also about the international experience," he said.

"It can really open up your views on things. I don't think it's a good thing when a country closes itself off."

Image caption Bethan Innes said she voted leave in the referendum

Hairdresser Bethan Innes, 23, from Norwich, said she was "50/50" in the 2016 EU Referendum but voted Leave.

"I thought we should take back control, but I had no idea the process would take this long. Even now I am still unsure, but I do worry about what might happen to the NHS if we leave," she said.

"I will vote in the election but I am undecided. When I listen to one politician and then the next day I listen to another, nothing is clear. They backtrack on what they said before and I can't tell if they will keep their promises."

Image copyright Lara Morris-Hatch
Image caption Maternity leave is a major issue for Lara Morris-Hatch

Lara Morris-Hatch, 24, is pregnant with her second child and hopes Brexit will not eclipse social issues.

A GP's receptionist, she said she saw service providers struggling, especially in mental health and elder care, with charities "taking the brunt of what the NHS is not able to do".

She wants politicians to do more to make full maternity leave a viable option for more mums.

"The current statutory pay - it's a long time on not a lot of money. Most people like me struggle to take full leave."

She said she had loved seeing Norwich become more diverse in recent years but worried not enough was done to promote the city.

"I want politicians to not just be focussed on national problems but local ones. Sometimes things get missed around here."

Image caption Charlie Wright voted Remain but feels Brexit now needs to be done so it can give his employer "clarity"

Charlie Wright, 26, grew up in Essex but stayed in Norwich after graduating from the UEA in 2015 and works at a payment software company.

He said he wanted four things from candidates: "loyalty, honesty, trust and transparency".

He voted Remain, but now wants Brexit done.

"We've also got some fantastic people here from mainland Europe and I don't want to lose their skills but we don't know what's happening," he said.

He said the "massively polarised" quality of local schools would concern him when he started a family.

"I had a great education, really supportive parents and I don't want my child going to an under-funded school," he said.

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