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It's make your mind up day as polls open

PUBLISHED: 11:02 06 May 2010 | UPDATED: 11:45 12 August 2010

PARLIAMENTARY hopefuls have revealed what sets their party apart from the competition in their last campaign push.

PARLIAMENTARY hopefuls have revealed what sets their party apart from the competition in their last campaign push.

Candidates have been campaigning for the past two months in the closest election for a generation.

As residents go to cast their vote today, the polls are still predicting a hung parliament, with Tuesday's surveys putting the Tories at 35 per cent of the vote and Labour and the Liberal Democrats head to head, both scoring 28 per cent.

Since the change of fortune in the Liberal Democrats' standing, due to Nick Clegg's perceived success in the television debates, party leaders have been trying to distance themselves from each other.

Bromley and Chislehurst Green parliamentary candidate Roisin Robertson said switching to green jobs is what makes her party different to the big three.

She added: "We don't need Trident, ID cards or new nuclear power. We can transfer that money straight away to roll out new green industries."

Liberal Democrat Bromley and Chislehurst candidate Sam Webber said: "The most important policy for me, speaking as a Primary School governor, is the £2.5billion we will put into funding the most disadvantaged pupils in primary and secondary schools.

"This is designed to assist schools in more deprived areas and especially help children who require one-to-one tuition, catch up classes and holiday learning support.

"It is a scandal that a child born in a deprived part of our borough is overtaken at school by a child of the same ability born in a wealthier area by the age of seven. The less fortunate child never catches up.

"Our pupil premium scheme is designed to right this wrong so that all children, wherever they live and however wealthy their parents are, get the fair start in life that they deserve."

Meanwhile Labour candidate for Lewisham and Penge Jim Dowd said there is not one stand out policy for his party, adding: "Everybody is arguing about the same thing.

"The issues are there for everybody. The people have to decide whose policies are most likely to address them and who are most likely to carry them out."

For Conservative candidate for Orpington, Jo Johnson, the economy remains the number one issue. He told the Times: "In my view, our single most important challenge is to get the economy moving again after the deepest and longest recession since the war.

"Small businesses are the engine of the economy and the Conservatives have the policies that will help them to start investing again and to start hiring from among the record 1million unemployed 16-24-year-olds whose potential is now going to waste.

"We will help small business keep more of their cashflow by reducing the small companies' rate of corporation tax from 22p to 20p, funded by reducing complex relief and allowances.

"We will encourage new jobs by abolishing tax on the first 10 jobs created by new businesses in the first two years of a Conservative government.

"We will ease the effects of the credit crunch by giving businesses access to affordable credit via a bold and simple National Loan Guarantee Scheme." marina.soteriou@archant.co.uk

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