Labour’s Hugo Pound Bids to be Tunbridge Wells MP

The Labour Party has launched its General Election campaign in Tunbridge Wells, arguing that its plans to step up house building should include some development of Green Belt land.

Labour’s Parliamentary candidate, Hugo Pound (pictured below) said: “We stopped the sprawl of joining Tunbridge Wells to Pembury in a recent application…so we protected the Green Belt between those conurbations…but there are going to be opportunities to build within the Green Belt that are wholly appropriate and most people will not be fussed by – I believe.”


Hugo Pound has been in charge of housing in the Borough council coalition for the past two years. He has lived in Tunbridge Wells for the past 32 years, works as a chartered psychologist and is a former governor of The Judd School and Skinners Kent Academy.

Labour’s plan to impose 20% VAT on fees paid by parents to private schools is aimed at raising new funds for state schools, but the policy may well be unpopular with some Tunbridge Wells voters.

In his recorded interview, Hugo Pound, said that “penalising parents and grandparents for VAT – for me – doesn’t sit comfortably” and he suggested he thought private schools which offered facilities like swimming pools to the community should retain their charitable status and so not pay VAT.

However, since the interview was first released Hugo Pound has said on social media: “My idea of requiring private schools to make their facilities accessible in order to retain their charitable status is a non-starter, apparently; turning on and off charitable status is legally near-impossible which is why it’s not part of the plan!”

He continued: “So I retreat from that position and fall back to the proposal that the only way forward to ensure a better distribution of resource and funding is to charge VAT on private school fees – my worry being that many schools’ facilities will still be inaccessible to all.”

The launch event last Wednesday was held at the Old Auction House and attended by a mix of invited guests – many of whom were not traditional Labour Party supporters.

You can see Hugo Pound’s full interview with local journalist Martin Webber on YouTube:

Hugo Pound said: “Tunbridge Wells deserves a Labour MP. Greg Clark has been here since 2005 and …has done some good things locally, but he does not represent the values of most people who now live in Tunbridge Wells”.

Asked about the challenge to Greg Clark from the Liberal Democrat candidate, Mike Martin, Hugo Pound pointed to some polling estimates from Electoral Calculus that suggested that Labour might currently be in second place to the Conservatives in Tunbridge Wells, although Hugo accepted that this prediction might not have involved actual polling locally.

Hugo 3

At the launch event, Hugo Pound, was introduced by his cousin, Stephen Pound (pictured right above), who was Labour MP for Ealing North for 22 years.  Also speaking was Georgina Stewart (above) who said she had voted Conservative all her life, but was now switching to Labour.

Hugo Pound said: “The national mood is that people want a Labour government… and for Tunbridge Wells to have anyone other than a Labour MP would be a huge disappointment, because if you are the MP of the party in Power you..have levers that you can pull, you are definitely involved in the decision making process.  If you are a Conservative or Lib Dem – this time round -you are not going to be.”

Southborough News