SWINDON residents will be vying for the camera, microphone and David Dimbleby’s attention this evening as the BBC’s Question Time programme comes to town.
The panel for tonight’s edition was announced yesterday, with Defence Secretary Philip Hammond, Shadow Health Minister Liz Kendall, former leader of the Liberal Democrats Charles Kennedy, author Jeanette Winterson and philosopher Roger Scruton due to appear.
Those successful in applying for a seat in the audience have been told to arrive at the set, which will remain a secret to those not attending, for 6.30pm and expect a three-hour session before leaving shortly after 9.30pm.
The programme will air at 10.35pm on BBC One.
Those applying were required to submit two potential questions for the panellists. It is expected issues involving Swindon will be discussed by panellists during the hour-long programme.
Paul Rowley, 47, of Cirencester, is the managing director at Orchard Press in Greenbridge Road. He will be attending tonight’s recording session with a question on health issues in the town.
He said: “My question is off the back of the news this month that Swindon is the most obese town in the South West.
“Does the panel think enough children are being encouraged to participate in school sport?
“It depresses me how much obesity there is in this country.
“I want people to take notice of what is going on with kids and teens in this country.”
The audience has also been asked to have a second question ready for when they appear on the night. If Paul gets the chance, he would like to put a cat among the pigeons on the panel.
“I would ask who would like to take credit for the improvement in the economy and let them fight it out with each other over that one.”
Carol Gibbon, 60, of The Quarries, who works at the Open Door charity, wants to see some discussion around the local funding made accessible to adults with learning difficulties.
“It’s about delivering Government legislation. There is legislation in place for the training of adults with learning difficulties and the middle man, the local council, is making it very difficult to get at it,” she said.
“There are too many hoops we have to jump through to get at it.”
Himanshu Patel, 52, of Liden, works at Victoria News, has said he wants attention on business rates in Swindon.
“For small businesses I want to see a reduction of the UBR (Uniform Business Rate). They are very tough on businesses and make it difficult to expand,” he said.
“It is an obstacle. If someone brought that up I would be very happy.
“A lot of friends who also own businesses in the area have agreed with me on the business rates.”