Assembly candidates grilled by Caerphilly Business Forum in Question Time event
Caerphilly’s four Assembly candidates have faced questions from businesses in the county borough.
The “Question Time” style event was organised by Caerphilly Business Forum so candidates could explain to the business community exactly what they had to offer.
Among the candidates facing the 50-strong audience at Bryn Meadows Golf Hotel and Spa, near Ystrad Mynach, were Ron Davies, a former a cabinet minister in Tony Blair’s government but now standing for Plaid Cymru, and Labour’s Jeff Cuthbert who won the Caerphilly seat at the last election.
They were joined by Liberal Democrat Kay David and Owen Meredith standing for the Conservatives.
The event was chaired by Andrew Diplock, chairman of Caerphilly Business Forum and commercial director of environment and energy consultants UES.
Mr Diplock said: “Caerphilly is one of the most eagerly anticipated battlegrounds in the election and the debate lived up to expectations. We saw four very different candidates with different approaches to helping businesses.
“Two of them had their party records in government in Westminster to defend and the other two had their records governing us from the Assembly to defend. And despite the two coalitions, they didn’t pull their punches. The only thing they could all agree upon was that we needed faster broadband in parts of Caerphilly County Borough where slow speeds are evidently hampering businesses.
“We heard debates on sustainable energy and nuclear power, how to improve the Assembly’s management of European funding for businesses and how the recent Yes vote could be used to improve the workings of the Assembly. I think it was particularly instructive for both the candidates and the audience.
“Dialogue between the business community and our elected representatives is vital, though it might not always take place in such an entertaining or adversarial format as this. Whoever does represent us after May 5th in Caerphilly will need to understand what the issues impacting on us are and what their policies mean to businesses here.
“That is one of the roles of Caerphilly Business Forum – providing the platform or open channel through which we can maintain regular dialogue with our representatives. And we look forward to welcoming one of our guests back as our next Assembly Member.”
Sixth formers from Ysgol Gyfun Cwm Rhymni also attended the event.
Student Victoria Williams had questioned candidates on our energy options, said she thought they’d each answered her question well.
“I agree with them that we need to take advantage of the resources we have in Wales but I don’t know where we’ll get the money to invest in it,” she said.
And, after the bad public image politicians had suffered from in recent years, did she think the candidates came across as good role models?
“Yes they did, but not all politicians give straight answers to questions,” she added.Follow @CaerphillyObsvr