THE candidates running to be York Central’s next MP put forward their parties’ positions on a host of issues in a public hustings on Thursday, June 27.

The event at Archbishop Holgate’s CE School saw Labour’s Rachael Maskell, Conservative Richard Hudson and Independent Alasdair Lord make their case to voters and young people.

Liberal Democrat Cllr Andrew Waller and Green Michael Kearney stood in for their parties’ candidates Alan Page and Lars Kramm respectively in the event moderated by the BBC’s Elly Fiorentini.

The evening saw the NHS, mental health, housing, trust in politics and transgender rights dominate the discussion.

A number of questions came from the school’s sixth form students.

Student Rory Ekers told the Local Democracy Reporting Service he felt all parties needed to address the feeling among young people that they were taken for granted by politicians.

Audience members were concerned about the state of the NHS and many of the candidates said the issue had come up during the campaign time and time again.

Conservative Mr Hudson said healthcare was a top priority for his party.

He said: “We’ve put a new diagnostics centre in Askham Bar which is helping to move people through the system more quickly.

“We’ve also got our NHS Recovery Plan which aims to recruit more doctors, nurses and dentists and Pharmacy First is trying to deal with GP access which is very difficult in York at the moment.”

Labour’s Ms Maskell said there was a mental health crisis among young people.

She said: “If they can’t see what their job is going to be or if they can’t get anywhere near to getting a home then a lot of young people will think what’s the point if there’s nothing to reach for.

“We also need mental health services available in schools and in our communities.”

But Green Mr Kearney said more staff would only treat the symptoms and not the causes.

He said: “We need to expand the curriculum to include more art and drama lessons and we need more investment into the NHS and education.

“We’ve seen the destruction of education in the last 14 years, young people have lost hope in this country.”

Student Evan Batholomew asked what the parties would do to bring down the cost of renting for young people.

Liberal Democrat Cllr Waller said more social housing and cracking down on second homes and holiday lets would be part of the solution particularly in York.

He said: “We need to support the rights of renters, people are being crowded out of the market we need homes that people in local areas can live in.”

Green Mr Kearney said the housing system was broken.

He said: “There’s more than a million households on council house waiting lists, rental costs are at eye-watering levels and homes are becoming unobtainable for young people.”

Independent Mr Lord said the housing issue was at heart one of economic justice.

He said: “I was renting six years ago as a single parent and 49 per cent of my income was going on rent.

“Wealth in society has been transferred from the working class and middle class to the super rich, they buy assets and housing is one of the most obvious, particularly in a place like York.”

Only one person put up their hand when the audience was asked whether they were happy with the current state of politics.

Labour candidate Ms Maskell said her party would bring integrity back into politics.

She said: “We’ve all got a responsbility to clean up politics, it’s never too late to do that.

“If elected I’d want to see everyone crowd into that space to hold us as politicians to account.”

Liberal Democrat Cllr Waller said the Post Office Horizon and infected blood scandals showed more needed to be done to restore trust in politics.

He said: “We need to make sure that the hurdles to getting information are taken down.”

Independent Mr Lord said more fundamental reforms were needed to fix the political system.

He said: “Electoral reform is important, I’d bring in a none of the above option onto ballot papers and compulsory voting because at the moment politicians feel that no matter how bad things are someone will be elected, but is that the best that politics can offer?”

Conservative Mr Hudson said he wanted to see politicians working together on issues to achieve outcomes that