Page last updated at 07:29 GMT, Tuesday, 6 April 2010 08:29 UK

Election 2010 - What's your big issue?

Ballot paper

BBC News online wants you to tell us your big election issue. Below, voters reveal their top priorities.Tell us yours here.

IMMIGRATION - DAVID STUCKEY, STEVENAGE
David Stuckey
David Stuckey believes immigrant workers have lowered working wages

Immigration is the issue I would like to see tackled.

It is causing many problems with regards to jobs, education, healthcare, and housing. And I firmly believe that it is costing us more to support immigrants than they are contributing to society.

I live in Stevenage, Hertfordshire and, like many areas in the South East, we have seen an enormous influx of immigrants, EU and non-EU.

I have seen many cases of how this influx has affected the local area, particularly in the jobs market. I also know of one local industry where Eastern Europeans now dominate the workforce. The English workers who remain there have to accept lower wages and poorer working conditions, or leave!

How does it benefit the economy when British workers lie unemployed whilst cheap foreign labour continues to pour in?
David Stuckey, Stevenage

I cannot see the logic of continuing to allow uncontrolled immigration on this scale under the current economic conditions. How does it benefit the economy when British workers lie unemployed whilst cheap foreign labour continues to pour in?

British workers may be more expensive to employ but, as a consequence, they pay more in tax. Low paid foreign workers get paid less, and therefore pay less tax. If this trend continues, surely the country can only get deeper into the red?

ARMED FORCES - PAUL FELLOWS, RUGBY
Paul Fellows
Paul Fellows hopes the government will boost forces' levels

As a serving soldier, my main concern is what the next government will do regarding the armed forces.

I have looked on as many long standing units have been destroyed and with them, long standing traditions and histories which units are proud of. Furthermore, the current state of affairs means recruitment is stalled. I find this shocking considering we are at war.

That is the key message: This country is at war. Every single day over 9,000 soldiers are fighting.

So the parties need to demonstrate that in future Afghanistan will be taken more seriously. But not only that. The armed forces in general are underfunded and underequipped, and this must not continue.

The question is - do any of the parties truly have the military's interests at heart?
Paul Fellows, Rugby

British troops are the most dedicated, professional, hard working and capable troops on earth. But will they remain so?

Personally I feel the army's ranks need to increase, both regular and territorial. The navy needs to increase, instead of cancelling orders on new vessels. The air force needs to increase and continue modernising also.

This costs money, and therefore hard decisions need to be made. Do we fork out for the soldiers, or do we fork out for the pen pushers at the MoD? The public treat the armed forces with respect. But the question is - do any of the parties truly have the military's interests at heart?

HIGHER EDUCATION - CHARLOTTE METCALF, SHEFFIELD
Charlotte Metcalf
Charlotte Metcalf thinks school leavers should have alternatives to university

Higher education is an issue I feel strongly about.

The problem with A-levels is that they qualify you to do nothing except go to university.

Where are the options for intelligent young people who do not want to engage in another three years of intensive study?

Supporting employers to provide training would be much cheaper than funding university and would provide a viable alternative to higher education for young people who are eager to start work.

I went to university in Leeds and studied earth system science. I am now a graduate project engineer in a waste management company.

Cut numbers at university and create opportunities for on-the-job training

I did not pay tuition fees but my friends did and I thought it grossly unfair.

Abolish tuition fees, cut numbers at university and create a wealth of opportunities for on-the-job training and qualifications aimed at 18-year-olds with A-levels.

SINGLE PEOPLE - SHAUN SPOONER, TAMWORTH
Shaun Spooner
Shaun Spooner wants new tax allowances for single home owners

I think more should be done to help out single people like myself.

The government bends over backwards for families - with tax credits and hand-outs (even though it was their choice to have a child).

Meanwhile, I pay a fortune in income tax and National Insurance, not to mention all the other taxes, and I'm living on the bread line - and I'm a fully qualified electrician. People think that the money is good, but it isn't. The average rate for a fully qualified electrician is between £9-13 an hour.

When all bills are considered - rent, water, electric, gas, council tax, TV licence, petrol, car tax, car insurance, car maintenance, phones bills, internet and food - there's no money left for anything else. I can't afford a house or a pension.

A person like myself - who works hard but doesn't live with somebody - gets nothing but a life of high tax and having no money
Shaun Spooner, Tamworth

A person like myself - who doesn't live with somebody, who works hard, goes to college and studies at night after work and doesn't claim benefits - gets nothing but a life of high tax and having no money. So what's the point in being here in this country? My hard work and intelligence is worth nothing. It feels like I'm getting penalised for it.

What the next government needs to do is to reduce tax for singles. If couples have children, they should pay for them and not expect taxpayers' money, hand-outs and tax credits. It was their choice, therefore their problem.

FUEL PRICES - CHARLOTTE BROOKES, HEREFORDSHIRE
Charlotte Brookes
Charlotte Brookes says rising fuel duty is making rural life far too expensive

I'm a first time voter and I want to know: When will we be charged more fairly for our fuel?

I live in a rural area and petrol has become easily my biggest expense. Prices at the pump are bordering a record high of 120.9p per litre.

But why are we paying the same price we paid in July 08 (when the oil price was $136.19 a barrel) when currently it is only $81 a barrel?

If the cost of oil shifts up even a dollar, we are quick to see the fuel price rise. But it never falls when the oil price falls. In fact, in the last few months, a number of my local stations have seen the price rise almost every single week.

Top that with the matter of "taxing tax" (taxing VAT) and you get close to just how much the price of petrol affects people like me every day.

If fuel were priced fairly we could have a few more pennies in our pocket and spend them in the economy
Charlotte Brookes, Herefordshire

I travel to and from work by car - 15 miles there, 15 miles back. Train isn't an option as there are no stations in Kington, the small town where I work. Bus is not an option as there is no route from where I live.

My nearest town is five miles away. If I want a decent shopping centre, the closest is 15miles, followed by 40 miles. If public transport was half decent and reliable, I'd use it. Instead, I use my car. It once cost barely £25 to fill it. I'm now lucky if £35 fills the tank.

If fuel were priced fairly, and the next government doesn't continue charging more duty, we could have a few more pennies in our pocket and spend them in the economy - as politicians keep insisting we should!

DISABILITY BENEFIT - MIKE HUGHES, SUTTON COLDFIELD
Mike Hughes
Mike Hughes wants benefits to be awarded more fairly

As some one who is registered blind, I struggle to get the help and benefits I need.

Yet all I hear about is people who abuse the system, especially disability allowance. The application and verification of this benefit is such that cheats find it easy and those in need find it impossible to get help.

So my question is: What steps are the leaders and their parties planning to take to weed out the cheats, recover the stolen cash, and redistribute it to those in need?

I am severely sight limited - which means I have a little sight, but I have lost so much that I am technically blind. I don't leave the house unaccompanied - it's not safe. I can't prepare a hot meal for myself other than warming soup or things in a microwave.

I was a higher rate tax payer for over 30 years - and yet now I have to fight for all I get
Mike Hughes, Sutton

And yet I only receive basic allowances.

I receive incapacity benefit (£179.60 per fortnight) and the disability living allowance (£149.20 per month). I don't qualify for income support, pension credit, or pension tax credit.

That gives me a monthly income of £508.40 - a long way short of government claims on minimum income. The forms are complex and in many cases impossible for even me an educated man to fill in without help and support.

I was a higher rate tax payer for over 30 years. And yet now, I have to fight for all I get.

DEVOLUTION - MAVIS WOODHOUSE, BIDEFORD, DEVON
Mavis Woodhouse
Mavis Woodhouse thinks it is time we tackled the 'West Lothian question'

I think it's about time that Scottish and Welsh MPs did the morally correct thing.

They should abstain from voting on issues that had no effect on their countries and relate to England only.

It is grossly unfair that they can vote on these matters and English MPs are denied the chance to vote on matters only affecting either Scotland or Wales.

It just strikes me as being a very unfair anomaly which should be addressed. What is the point of having devolution if it is only one way?

PENSIONS - BRIAN DENTON, DURHAM
Brian Denton
Brian Denton has sacrificed his savings to meet the rising cost of living

My question is - what will the next government do to help pensioners?

My wife and I are both retired and we live in housing association accommodation. I suffer severe angina and was advised to take early retirement on a nine year pension.

What savings we had for our retirement have been eroded to the point of near depletion trying to keep up with the ever increasing cost of living.

From next April, my state pittance will be raised by £2.40 per week and my wife's by £1.91.

But meanwhile, the grocery basket has increased by between £10 and £15 per week over the past eighteen months.

Things like eating out or going for an evening at a pub are almost out of reach of pensioners
Brian Denton, Consett, Durham

Never mind the cost of other things that are almost out of reach of pensioners - like eating out or going for an evening out at a pub.

I fear that whoever wins the coming election, despite the same old rhetoric, we can look forward to more boom and bust, thus ending our lives in near poverty.

ENERGY SECURITY - ANDY SCOTT, RICHMOND
Andy Scott
Andy Scott is not convinced that our green energy plans will be enough

Energy security is my concern - the uncertainty of our future power supply.

We are heavily dependent on external sources of energy, such as oil, gas and coal. Some of these come from politically unreliable sources.

As the world economy picks up, prices will rise, threatening our industry and we could be gazumped by other countries fighting for limited supplies.

Wind and other renewable sources are expensive and unreliable; you cannot guarantee that they will be there when needed. There is also opposition to constructing renewable resources, such as mainland wind farms or the Severn river barrier.

We need to develop 'green' nuclear power
Andy Scott, Richmond

At the same time, we are being encouraged to change from petrol transport to electric, so demand for electricity could well increase. But our coal and old nuclear power stations are closing.

We need the next government to develop "green" nuclear power. But even so, the timescales for this run into decades, creating a dangerous gap when we could be vulnerable to external energy suppliers.



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