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Green candidate for Reading West and Mid Berkshire

Carolyne Culver is a Green councillor who lives in a village in West Berkshire and is her party’s candidate for the Reading West and Mid Berkshire constituency.

Aged 51, she is a councillor for the Ridgeway ward on West Berkshire Council, living in the area she represents in the village of East Ilsley which is in the constituency.

She also works part-time as a consultant on nature-based solutions to climate change projects, but she was released from my latest contract early so she could focus on the general election campaign.

In the run-up to the general election, the Local Democracy Reporting Service in Berkshire has asked each candidate the same questions so you can get the measure of them.

Cllr Culver has answered the following questions:

Q: What are the three biggest challenges facing the people of Reading West and Mid Berkshire? 

A: “Climate change which we need to tackle if we are going to have a liveable planet; cost of living crisis including the high cost of housing and lack of affordable/social homes; getting a doctor’s or dentist’s appointment. (In my rural ward in the Pang Valley, flooding and sewage is a major concern).”

Q: What causes will you be championing if elected as an MP? 

A: “Increase funding for NHS frontline services, reverse privatisation, and improve pay and conditions. Return Thames Water to public ownership. End sewage discharges and clean up our waterways. Invest in green jobs, renewable energy and home insulation – to boost the economy, reduce energy bills, and shrink our carbon footprint.

“Reform our tax system to make it fairer, including a tax on the super-rich, to raise £50billion to invest in our NHS, warmer homes and cleaner rivers.

“Freeze rent rises and ban no-fault evictions.

“Build more social homes with secure tenures and affordable rents. Show humanity towards refugees. Recognise the contribution that immigrants have made to the UK, and a ceasefire in Gaza and a political solution to the historic conflict.”

Q: What car do you drive?

A: “A Honda Jazz. If this is an attempt to make candidates not appear green, I would like to highlight that I have a carbon zero home with an air source heat pump, I took a no-fly pledge four years ago, and I eat a plant-based diet with a much lower carbon footprint than a meat diet.”

Q: What’s your favourite film or TV show? 

A: Curb Your Enthusiasm.

Q: When was the last time you cried? 

A: Today (Thursday, June 13 after a resident I hadn’t met before greeted me by name and thanked me for my work as a councillor.

“He said ‘We need to get you into the House of Commons’. People’s faith in me is humbling.

“The fact I was elected five years ago despite first past the post, and increased my majority last year, is one of the proudest achievements of my life.”

Q: What’s your stance on drug legalisation, and have you ever taken any drugs in your past? 

A: “The Greens would decriminalise personal possession of drugs, diverting people from the criminal justice system towards support with addiction, housing and employment, from health workers focused on drug harm reduction.

“This would free up hundreds of thousands of hours of police time, which could instead be invested in tackling other priorities which benefit wider society. I haven’t taken drugs personally.”