From buses to food poverty, youngsters quiz politicians at 'Question Time'

Cambridgeshire politicians in Chatteris for Question Time

From left: Dr Nik Johnson, Lorna Dupre, Ruth Hufton, host Jack Wheelan, MP Lucy Frazer and Darryl Preston at the 'Question Time' event. - Credit: 20Twenty Productions

Mayor Dr Nik Johnson believes Cambridgeshire must be “brave and spend the money” if an improved public transport system is to work for the environment. 

“The options are out there, but we have to be brave and spend the money,” he said. 

“We have got to think environment, environment, environment.” 

Dr Johnson spoke at a ‘Question Time’ event held by the Fenland and East Cambridgeshire Youth Advisory Boards in Chatteris on November 4. 

He was joined by four other panellists who were quizzed by young people on different topics, from helping minority communities feel more inclusive to food poverty. 

Jack Wheelan and Cllr Ruth Hufton

Host Jack Wheelan speaks to Cllr Ruth Hufton, chair of Doddington Parish Council, at 'Question Time'. - Credit: 20Twenty Productions

Dr Johnson hopes an Uber-style bus service, which he said is proving popular in Huntingdonshire, can work well in other parts of Cambridgeshire. 

A public engagement for CAPCA’s plans to improve transport is currently being held. 

But despite wanting to connect more parts of the county through active travel, including all four Fenland towns, he warned the environment must also be a priority. 

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“We have to look into much more affordable public transport, but have to do it in a fair way,” he said. 

“I’m doing my best and I will keep trying and caring for the environment more so than we have in the last 20 years.” 

At the event, there were calls by Cllr Lorna Dupre, East Cambs and county councillor, for every eligible child to receive free school meals through school holidays and term time. 

Darryl Preston speaks to young people at Question Time

Darryl Preston, Cambridgeshire police and crime commissioner, speaking to audience members at 'Question Time'. - Credit: 20Twenty Productions

Darryl Preston, Cambridgeshire police and crime commissioner, reassured that the public can reinstall trust within the force following the murder of Sarah Everard

“All police officers I know are shocked like the rest of us,” he said.  

“I will ensure the chief constable (Nick Dean) will have everything in place so things are dealt with swiftly moving on.” 

Another key topic was prioritising green space, something which Doddington Parish Council chair, Cllr Ruth Hufton, believes is important. 

Young people at 'Question Time' event Chatteris

Young people quizzed local politicians in Fenland and East Cambridgeshire at a 'Question Time' event. - Credit: 20Twenty Productions

Mental health and why this was not prioritised in the Autumn Budget was also raised. 

SE Cambs MP Lucy Frazer said an online safety bill will be going through parliament to regulate social media firms in tackling cyber bullying and other issues. 

Ms Frazer said: “Mental health issues are growing and it’s important we tackle them early.”