This past week again saw a lot of varied and interesting opportunities for me in my work as your Member of Parliament.
In Westminster I met with the Business Minister and the Cornish Lithium company to discuss the future of lithium mining in Cornwall, as well as speaking up for Cornwall in the debate on Economic Growth in the South West.
Meanwhile in Mid-Cornwall I attended the Plastic Free Cornwall event at St Austell to discuss how we can all do more to cut down on single use plastic. I also met with local farmers and Mevagissey fishermen to discuss a variety of concerns. I also made it to St Austell RFC at the weekend to welcome in the new reusable plastic pint cups initiative by Sharps Brewery.
On Wednesday, I was pleased to see the Home Secretary announce plans to give police tough new powers to crackdown on illegal traveller sites.
These sites are sadly a regular feature in Cornwall, particularly during the summer months, and last year I was involved with issues with them that came up in both St Austell and Newquay towns.
The problem as it stands is that while everyone knows that these sites, are by their nature, unauthorised and so should not be there, there is a lengthy process that needs to be followed in order to evict them. The people who create these sites know this and take advantage. In the meantime, while these sites are there they often take up parking or public space and are left in a poor state of repair, costing the taxpayer more to clean up.
The proposals the Home Secretary set out last week look at making it easier for officers to intervene and remove travellers from land they should not be on. He will also consider making it a criminal offence to set up such camps. It is currently defined in law as trespassing, a civil matter.
In addition, the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government announced it will provide local authorities with practical and financial support to handle unauthorised encampments.
The move to review making trespassing a criminal offence rather than a civil one is over and above what has previously been considered, and something I have asked for in Parliament previously. This will give the police powers to quickly intervene and move on unauthorised encampments and avoid the issues described above.
My team and I are here to serve the whole constituency and work hard to make a real difference to the lives of everyone needing support. The office is open to the public Monday – Friday 10.00am – 4.00pm (no appointment necessary). If there is an issue you would like my assistance on then please, either visit the office or contact me on either 01726 829379 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Additionally, I hold regular, appointment only, advice surgeries across the constituency. Dates of these can be found at: www.stevedouble.org.uk/events