Eight of the 10 candidates contesting the Sleaford and North Hykeham constituency by-election attended a hustings event at on Monday evening as guests of the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB).
The event was organised by the Lincoln, North Hykeham and Sleaford Branch of the FSB with the aim of giving members and business colleagues the opportunity to ask questions on small business matters and issues relating to the local economy and local people.
The candidates faced the audience in a ‘Question Time’ panel style with FSB branch chairman David Dexter controlling proceedings and ensuring that each candidate had the chance to explain their views.
The candidates present were Peter Hill aka The Iconic Arty Pole (The Official Monster Raving Loony Party), Victoria Ayling (UK Independence Party), Jim Clarke (Labour), Paul Coyne (Independent), Caroline Johnson (Conservative), Marianne Overton (Lincolnshire Independents), Ross Pepper (Liberal Democrats) and Sarah Stock (Independent).
An FSB spokesman said: “It came as no surprise when the first question asked was about Brexit and it revealed that candidates had differing views on the type of exit the Government should be managing. All candidates agreed that infrastructure, especially the road network, is a major concern in the constituency and Lincolnshire generally.
“Business topics discussed included taxation, business rates, broadband, cybercrime and business crime.
“The candidates showed empathy for a local haulier who explained how he had been conned out of £5,000 by a ‘social engineering’ scam. Many agreed that business crime should be higher on the police agenda and should be one of their key performance indicators.
“Although the event was a business hustings the chairman did accept some questions on issues that affect all of us such as the NHS and air quality.”
The by-election takes place on Thursday, December 8.