Wednesday, 27 December 2017

Newspaper column 27 December 2017 - Looking back at a busy year

I hope you all had a relaxing and happy Christmas. Where has 2017 gone? Certainly for me the past year has flown by and it is time once again to provide an end of year update on some of the work I have been doing for you in Mid-Cornwall.

Clearly the biggest news of the year from the snap General Election in June. I was honoured to be re-elected as your MP after only 2 years with both an increased share of the vote and bigger majority. Thank you once again to everyone who voted for me and to those who helped in my campaign.

Brexit still dominates the scene nationally. The Prime Minister has now achieved an agreement with the EU to move negotiations on to the second phase. This is significant progress and means we can now move on to negotiations over our future trading relationship with the EU. Despite those who are seeking to disrupt and dilute the process I am pleased that the PM remains totally committed to the UK leaving the EU and regaining control over our laws, borders and money.  

Locally, a real highlight of the year has been the recent approval by the Chancellor for £79m to fund a dedicated A30 link road to St Austell. This is a crucial piece of infrastructure and the largest single piece of transport infrastructure investment in this area. It was one of my priorities since running for election in 2015 and something people have talked about for years. I am pleased that in just over two years as your MP and under a Conservative Government, we have delivered on this. I will now be working with all involved to ensure this road is built as soon as possible.

I am pleased to have worked with Cornwall Airport Newquay, Cornwall Council and the Local Enterprise Partnership to drive forward and champion the bid for our airport to become Britain’s first commercial spaceport. Many thought this was a pipe dream when I was first elected, but we have now have a serious bid submitted and are seen by many to be a frontrunner. I am hopeful for a positive announcement in the spring of next year and if so, this will bring levels of investment and skilled jobs into Mid-Cornwall that have been previously unheard of.

In Parliament I now sit on the Transport Select Committee and am a strong voice for investment in transport infrastructure in Cornwall. I still sit on the European Scrutiny Committee, to allow me to continue to look at European legislation and how it affects us. I am also now the Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Visitor Economy group to help champion the tourism and hospitality industries that are such a major part of our economy.

I am still Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Protect Our Waves group which works with the Cornish based charity Surfers Against Sewage and am delighted at the progress the Government has made in working towards combatting the marine pollution threats posed by the increasing amount of plastic that ends up on our beaches and in our seas. I have been able to champion the cause in Parliament for a deposit scheme for single use plastic bottles, and am pleased to have been recognised by the Secretary of State for the Environment for this, with the Government now moving forward on a formal industry consultation.

Along with my team I am pleased to have assisted nearly 4,000 individual constituents with their concerns since I was elected and I have written to over 10,000 people who have contacted me about policy matters. In Parliament in the last year I have spoken in the main Chamber 58 times and voted in 92% of all votes, both above average for MPs. Here in Mid-Cornwall I have attended over 450 local events, been on more than 30 school visits and welcomed many Government Ministers, including the Prime Minister and several members of her Cabinet, to the area so they can see first-hand the issues we face. I would like to thank my excellent staff for all the hard work they put in on what has been an incredibly busy year!

May I also take this opportunity to thank you for your continued support of our growing constituency association over what has been an eventful year.

I wish you a healthy and happy 2018.

Wednesday, 20 December 2017

Newspaper column 20 December 2017 - Changes to Cornwall's NHS

Parliament will soon be rising for the Christmas Recess and I am looking forward to spending time at home with my family and friends.
There has been quite a lot of coverage recently about the proposals brought forward to change the way in which NHS services are run in Cornwall, with the setting up of an Accountable Care Organisation (ACO), introducing stakeholders such as Cornwall Council to the NHS management system.
Certain political parties have been quick to jump on the ‘this is privatisation’ bandwagon – once again turning our NHS into a political football. It is sad that the Labour Party in particular want to play politics with the NHS rather than work constructively to improve it. Instead they criticise the way the NHS is run now, as well as all new ideas put forward to help make it sustainable in the future.   
I should clarify that the ACO that is proposed is not a wholesale takeover by Cornwall Council of the NHS in Cornwall. It will create a management board with council involvement, as well as other stakeholders similar to the former Cornwall & Isles of Scilly Health Authority which ran from 1974-2002. People have been talking about the need to integrate health and social care in Cornwall for a long time and this is one possible way to achieve this.
It is certainly right and proper that the proposals to create an ACO are scrutinised by Cornwall Council and I support their setting up of a cross-party Inquiry Panel to do this.
I will continue to work with all involved to safeguard the future of community hospitals in Mid-Cornwall, continuing on from the submission I made to the STP on their importance to our communities.
It is important to remember that the ACO proposed for Cornwall is not unprecedented. For example there is already one further along the process in Greater Manchester that is being led by the Labour Council that sits there.
My commitment remains for an NHS that is free at the point of use. What matters the most apart from this is that the service available is fit for purpose and works well for the people who have to use it, as well as being good value for the public purse. How this is delivered would be down to the NHS, stakeholders such as Cornwall Council, and those who deliver the services.
May I take this opportunity to wish all readers a very Happy Christmas and a safe and prosperous New Year.

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 Additionally, I hold regular, appointment only, advice surgeries across the constituency. Dates of these can be found at:

Friday, 15 December 2017

The Blue Belt initiative

I fully support this proposal and I am delighted the government are committing £20 million over the next few years to support the delivery of protecting four million square kilometres of marine environment. This money will help us improve our scientific understand of the oceans, develop and implement evidence based marine management strategies, and ensure the management of such a programme is sustainable for the long term.

A couple of months ago the government published its strategy for the British Overseas Territories, you can read in more detail what we are doing here:  

At a local level, I am chairman of the APPG for Protect Our Waves who work with the charity Surfers Against Sewerage. Together we have pressured the government to introduce the ban on microbeads, hold a consultation on the best way to introduce a Bottle Return Deposit scheme and pressure water companies to improve water quality around our beaches and shorelines.

A few weeks ago the Environment Minister, Therese Coffey announced a newly classified marine Special Protection Area which will come into force along a 24 mile stretch of coast from Falmouth to St Austell Bay. You can read more here: 

Thursday, 14 December 2017

Nurses Pay - December 2017

I recognise the huge contribution made by the millions of people who work in our NHS and social services. Inflation is above the rate of annual pay increases, so I appreciate that this creates a gap between earnings and outgoings, and that's why the Government continues to cut taxes for working people and introduce other measures like doubling the amount of free childcare which saves families considerable amounts of money.

Each area of the public sector has a pay review board which makes recommendations to the Government about pay increases. Just recently the police pay review board recommended a rise of 1 per cent on top of the capped 1 per cent. This alone will cost an extra £50 million over 12 months, which illustrates how much it costs to award pay rises in parts of the public sector which employ a lot of people. The Treasury has a very challenging job of making sure the books are balanced, and even now we are still borrowing £50 billion per year to bridge the gap.

In the recent Autumn Budget, the Chancellor said that the Government will look at pay awards for NHS staff on the Agenda for Change contract, including nurses, midwives and paramedics. This does not prejudge the role of the independent NHS Pay Review Body in recommending the level of pay award that staff should receive, and given the recent decision by the Government to accept the extra pay increase for the police, this shows that it is listening to concerns about public sector pay.

Further to this, the Chancellor announced £6.3 billion of extra funding for the NHS on top of already planned increases. This includes £2.8 billion of additional resource funding to help the NHS meet A&E waiting time targets as well as for those who are referred for treatment. £335 million of this will be provided before the end of the year to help the NHS meet increased winter demand.

The NHS in England will also get another £3.5 billion of capital funding on top of the £425 million announced in the Spring Budget. This includes £2.6 billion for Sustainability and Transformation Partnerships (STPs) who are currently working on plans to improve local health services and £700 million will be provided for NHS trusts which require extra help in meeting targets.

I absolutely want to see nurses getting an annual pay rise of more than 1 per cent, provided it is properly funded, I recognise the extra demand on the NHS due to an increasing and ageing population, and that it is working hard to ensure that patients get faster and more effective treatment.

Wednesday, 13 December 2017

Newspaper column 13 December 2017 - On to the next stage of Brexit negotiations!

At the end of last week we heard the welcome news that the Prime Minister had reached an agreement on the first phase of negotiations for the United Kingdom to leave the European Union.

On Friday the UK and EU negotiating teams issued a joint report on the progress they have made on the three areas covered in the first phase of negotiations.  The President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, has agreed that this report represents sufficient progress and that we should now move on to the talks about our future partnership.

As a result, Donald Tusk, the President of the EU Council, has recommended that the December Council allows the next stage of negotiations to proceed and that there should be quick progress on agreeing an implementation period.

The agreement on Phase One of the negotiations secures the rights of the three million EU citizens living here and the million British citizens living in the EU, represents a fair settlement of the accounts and maintains the Common Travel Area with Ireland, which has operated since the 1920s, and sets out both sides’ determination to avoid a hard border between Northern Ireland and Ireland, while respecting the integrity of the UK Single Market.

The round of negotiations that has just finished has also given us a number of concessions where the EU has backed down on positions they previously held at the beginning of the talks.

For example, the EU have accepted that we will carry out systematic criminality checks and will ask individuals to disclose previous criminality when they apply for visa documentation. Any EU nationals that commit crime after we leave will be subject to UK laws.

The EU have also  accepted that future spouses  from the EU will be subject to the UK immigration law provisions that apply to non-EU spouses currently.

In terms of monetary obligations, we have also reached an agreement that the UK will honour our commitments to the end of the budget period, but have crucially secured the rebate on these payments as well as other adjustments that will minimise our bill. We expect the settlement to come in significantly below many of the EU’s initial estimates. This will be paid as and when the commitments are due and are dependent on a broader agreement on our future partnership, and is a significant change to the EU’s previous position, which was that the UK should pay in full the obligations resulting from the whole period of its membership; they estimated this at 75b Euro.

I have always thought moving to the second phase of negotiations was of crucial importance, as his contains the real ‘meat’ of the deal allowing us to look at the implementation period and final trading agreements.

The EU had stipulated that we could not move on to phase two of negotiations until we had made progress on the citizenship status of current EU citizens living in the UK, the ‘divorce bill’ and the Irish Border, which we have now done. I believe our current situation is a reasonable compromise that will now allow us to get on the really important stuff in phase two. The EU has said previously that nothing is agreed until everything is agreed and this certainly continues to be the spirit of the negotiations!

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 Additionally, I hold regular, appointment only, advice surgeries across the constituency. Dates of these can be found at:

Tuesday, 12 December 2017

Note regarding the recent Brexit negotiations.

Note regarding the recent Brexit negotiations.

Firstly, it is important to note that what has been agreed so far is not set in stone and was only put down as a point so we can advance to the next stage of the negotiation.

Despite what has been written in the press, the EU has conceded several major positions so far. The first one is regarding citizens’ rights. The EU wanted its laws preserved in the UK in perpetuity and its direct enforcement should be by the EU. Instead, once we leave we will be free to change or amend any EU law as we see fit and for a limited time, our courts will be able to ask the ECJ for a legal view on the law but our courts have the final say.

Another concession we have with the EU, they didn’t want us to be able to conduct criminality checks on EU nationals who commit crimes after we leave, and they would not be subject to EU laws. Instead The EU have accepted that we will carry out systematic criminality checks and will ask individuals to disclose any records when they apply for documentation and EU citizens will be subject to UK laws.   

The EU wanted us to pay up to €100 billion. Instead we will pay far less than that as we said we would when the Prime Minister said we will honour our financial commitments in good faith. This will be paid dependent on a broader agreement on our future partnership, simple put if they reneged on any deal, they don’t get any money. 

Finally it is important to note nothing has been agreed yet and any deal is at least a year off when it comes to any conclusion. I am pleased that the Prime Minister has confirmed several times that we will leave the Single Market, Customs Union and have control over immigration. To not do so would leave us in the worst of both worlds and therefore I back the statement, a no deal is better than a bad deal. 

Thursday, 7 December 2017

Update on Bass

I have received the below response from Fishing Minister George Eustice to my correspondence on behalf of the many people who contacted me about the proposed new EU bass fishing rules.

I will continue to raise this on behalf of both commercial and leisure anglers to ensure your voices are loudly heard.

Wednesday, 6 December 2017

Newspaper column 6 December 2017 - my shift with the South Western Ambulance Service

As we head into December, last week was another varied one, with lots going on both in Westminster and in Mid-Cornwall.

In Parliament I was pleased to speak in a number of debates, including questioning the Secretary of State for Transport on regional transport infrastructure investment following the recent announcement of the A30 link road to St Austell, and voicing what I am sure is the opinion of the vast majority of residents of Mid-Cornwall in criticising the reckless and ill-informed tweets made by President Trump promoting right wing hate groups in the UK.

Meanwhile in Mid-Cornwall I attended a great business breakfast event at the Eden Project on Friday, followed by supporting the excellent work carried out by the local foodbank and Tesco, a visit to the B4 Project to discuss their work protecting our bees and a busy constituency advice surgery in St Austell on Saturday.

I was also delighted to attend and give a speech at a charity dinner at The Bristol Hotel in Newquay on Sunday where we raised thousands of pounds for local charities.

The highlight of my week last week was when I joined the night shift with the local Southwestern Ambulance Service crew as an observer.

Since my election I have made time to visit our emergency services to be able to obverse first hand how things operate on the front line and therefore better understand the challenges and pressures they face.

We all know the pressures the NHS as an organisation faces and I am pleased to see the Government has recognised this with a real terms year on year increase of funding for NHS Cornwall since its creation.

I am also aware of the financial constraint ambulance services such as the South Western Ambulance Service face. The South Western Ambulance Services was the first ambulance service in the country to be registered to operate as an NHS Foundation Trust in its own right and as such has different funding arrangements to the other NHS organisations in Cornwall. This means they have a greater freedom to determine their own future and more flexibility to tailor services to the particular needs of the communities they serve – an important distinction that defines it from other services in Cornwall such as the Kernow Clinical Commissioning Group and Treliske.

One thing that struck me was how busy the shift was. As soon as one case was finished another was assigned within seconds – a constant workload but one that the dedicated and professional staff remained on top of at all times.

One thing the crew did raise with me was the status of the public sector pay cap. I am pleased that the Secretary of State for Health announced in October that the cap is to be lifted, which will benefit the 1.4 million NHS staff who have been affected by the cap and should mean decent pay rises going forward.

One thing that the crew did press upon me was that people need to value this service as a precious but limited resource.  For example, they dealt with 6,159 incidents in the last weekend of November, a 12% rise compared to 2016. The advice given is to only call 999 if the casualty is suffering from severe bleeding, breathing difficulties, chest pains or loss of consciousness, essentially an emergency for serious or life threatening situations.

All in all I had a very interesting time during my observation of the shift. I learned a lot and have nothing but admiration for our paramedics.

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 Additionally, I hold regular, appointment only, advice surgeries across the constituency. Dates of these can be found at:

Wednesday, 29 November 2017

Newspaper Column for St Austell area newspapers 29 November 2017

The main news last week was the Budget Statement. There was lots of good news for Cornwall including positive changes to Universal Credit, more money for the NHS and cutting stamp duty for first time house buyers. However, there was also some great news locally for the St Austell area. The Budget included confirmation from the Chancellor that the Government would be providing £79m of funding for the dedicated link road from St Austell to the A30.

This is truly amazing news and represents one of the biggest investments ever in our transport infrastructure in mid-Cornwall. In my election campaigns in both 2015 and this year I said securing this funding would be my top priority for this area and I am delighted to be delivering on this commitment.

This road will provide a direct link from the A30 to St Austell - reducing the journey times and will bring massive economic benefits. In a consultation in 2012 this road was the number one priority for local businesses. It will also solve the problems residents of the villages of Bugle, Stenalees and Roche have been experiencing with heavy traffic going through their communities, particularly close to local schools,  using roads that were simply not designed for that volume of traffic In the run up to the General Election this year, these problems were the number one issue raised with me on the door in these communities and I am pleased, just five months down the line, to have delivered what I promised, and secured the funding from the Government to help solve this issue.

This is a road that many people have talked about for years and I am pleased to have finally got the ball rolling on it as your MP and as part of a Conservative Government. I am very grateful for the support of Cornwall Council officers, local councillors Sally-Anne Saunders and John Wood, as well as the St Austell Bay Economic Forum (SABEF) on behalf of the wider business community.

I have already met with the Head of Transport of Cornwall Council to discuss this news and keep the momentum going. We now have to go through the planning process and hope that construction will begin in 2019. Rest assured that I will be doing everything in my power to ensure this project goes ahead as soon as possible and we get the road built for the benefit of the whole community.

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 Additionally, I hold regular, appointment only, advice surgeries across the constituency. Dates of these can be found at:

Thursday, 23 November 2017

NHS Funding

I believe fully in the NHS and its values, and I would like to assure you that the Government is committed to a tax-funded NHS, free at the point of use, wherever and whenever you need it. As Ministers plan a new relationship with the EU, I know they will continue to ensure that the NHS is given the priority it deserves.

Despite tight public finances, the Government has actively supported the NHS's own plan for the future. That is why it is increasing NHS spending by a minimum of £8 billion in real terms over the next five years. This will ensure that by the end of this Parliament, everyone will be able to access GP services at evenings and weekends.
At the recent Budget, the Chancellor announced an additional £6.3 billion in funding for the NHS, £335 million will be spent this year on A&Es to prepare them for any winter pressure they may face.

I wholeheartedly support the Government's increase to the NHS budget. However, the NHS is a public service like any other, and local areas must live within their agreed budgets, otherwise they are effectively unfairly depriving other parts of the NHS of much-needed resources. As I understand, the so-called 'capped expenditure process' is part of NHS England and NHS Improvement's financial planning, which examines how a small number of NHS areas could do more to balance their budgets, and remain on a financially sustainable footing for the long run.

You may be happy to hear that the Commonwealth Fund, a respected healthcare think-tank which works to improve access to healthcare around the world rated the NHS as the best healthcare system in the world, in an authoritative, comparative study of healthcare systems in developed economies. Whilst there is no room for complacency, I am encouraged that the NHS is performing well, despite many years of difficult financial circumstances.

More money is being invested in mental health than ever before, with an estimated record £11.4 billion this year and investment continues to rise. Additional mental health funding has been invested since April 2017, rising to £1 billion by 2020/21 for mental health to support crisis care and perinatal services, and respond to the Five Year Forward View for Mental Health. For children and young people, £1.4 billion has been committed to transform mental health and eating disorder services over five years. In Cornwall will have our first adolescent mental health unit build in Bodmin over the next few years. No longer will young people have to travel out of county to get the care they need.

The NHS will earmark an extra £2.4 billion a year for GP services by 2020/21, a 14 per cent real terms increase. This investment includes a £500 million Sustainability and Transformation package to help GP practices add to the workforce and tackle workload.

On top of this, to secure the best value for taxpayers, tough new financial controls have been introduced to cut down on waste in the NHS, including introducing caps for agency staff and management consultants, and introducing central procurement rules. I am glad to say that the limits on agency spending have saved the NHS roughly £1 billion between 2014 and 2016, and the NHS believes there is still significant progress to be made.

I understand that the NHS is putting into practice the Getting it Right First Time scheme, first piloted by orthopaedic surgeon Professor Tim Briggs. In 2016, the Health Secretary announced new plans to reduce infection in the NHS and improve surgical practice, which aims to save the NHS a further £1.5 billion per year, which can be reinvested in patient care.

In recognition of the pressures facing social care in local areas, the Chancellor has announced a package of measures in the recent budget which go even further to help the health and care system. Local Authorities in England will receive an additional £2 billion for social care over the next three years. This will help to ease pressures on the NHS by supporting more people to be discharged from hospital and into care as soon as they are ready.

It is also important to note what’s happening Cornwall. The NHS budget has increased and is budgeted to continue increase as you can see from the table below.


Wednesday, 22 November 2017

Newspaper column 22 November - the fight against plastics in our seas

This week Parliament is focussing on the Budget, which the Chancellor will be giving today.

I spent the run up both in Mid-Cornwall and in Parliament, including a busy constituency advice surgery in Newquay and the Anti-Social Behaviour summit in St Austell

I had a packed time in Parliament, speaking in a number of debates, including one on Fatherhood and the importance of the role of fathers in today’s society, and on the role of the UK in combatting marine pollution.

Along with this second debate, I was also pleased, in my capacity as Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Protecting Our Waves, to host the Plastic-free Coastlines Reception in Westminster. Those who have followed my work will know this is an issue I have been campaigning on since I was first elected.

Along with Surfers Against Sewage, the reception took place to highlight the issue of marine plastic pollution and promote innovative government, business and community based solutions to protect our oceans and beaches from the rising tide of plastic.

In 1950, the world’s population of 2.5 billion produced 1.5 million tons of plastic; in 2016, a global population of more than 7 billion people produced over 320 million tons of plastic. This is set to double by 2034. Every day approximately 8 million pieces of plastic pollution find their way into our oceans and there may now be around 5.25 trillion macro and microplastic pieces floating in the open ocean, altogether weighing up to 269,000 tonnes.

UK-wise, approximately 5000 items of marine plastic pollution have been found per mile of beach and on average over 150 plastic bottles litter each mile of UK beaches.

On top of this, recent studies have revealed marine plastic pollution in 100% of marine turtles, 59% of whales, 36% of seals and 40% of seabird species examined. 100,000 marine mammals and turtles and 1 million sea birds are killed by marine plastic pollution annually.

These are all shocking statistics and clearly something needs to be done. With this in mind, it was great to get so many inspirational charities, businesses and government agencies together in Parliament to see just how far we have come in our fight against plastic pollution of our seas.

The Government is listening to the hundreds of thousands of people who have got involved and is taking forward ideas including the consultation on the deposit return scheme for single use plastic bottles and we are very much hoping for more news on this issue in the budget. There is still much more to do, both in terms of raising awareness of this issue and the serious nature of the problem, and in providing solutions to the tide of plastic that is blighting our seas.

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 Additionally, I hold regular, appointment only, advice surgeries across the constituency. Dates of these can be found at:

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Child refugees

I strongly support the principle of family unity, but it is important to note that there are already legal routes for families to be reunited safely that are not dependent on our EU membership. The UK's family reunion policy is generous, granting over 23,000 family reunion visas over the last five years, and I can assure you that the Government will continue to reunite refugees with their immediate family.

The EU Dublin Regulation determines the Member State with responsibility for assessing an asylum claim. Under the Regulation unaccompanied children present in another EU Member State can be transferred to the UK to have their asylum claim assessed where they have a qualifying family member or relative legally present and transfer is in their best interests. I do expect cooperation on asylum and migration with our European partners to continue after the UK leaves the EU, and will follow this topic with interest as the exact nature of this cooperation becomes clear during the negotiations.

Britain has a proud record of helping the most vulnerable who are fleeing conflict and danger, and I know the Government is committed to upholding this fine tradition. That is why its response to the migrant crisis has indeed been to establish resettlement schemes from the refugee camps in the region. This allows support to be targeted to the most vulnerable people affected by the crisis, while not creating a strong incentive for refugees to undertake dangerous journeys. By 2020, the UK will have resettled 20,000 refugees through our Syrian Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme, as well as a further 3,000 of the most vulnerable children and their families from the Middle East and North Africa region under the Vulnerable Children's Resettlement Scheme.

Green Belt

I am exceptionally fond of the British and Cornish countryside. While it is up to local authorities to determine the development of new homes through local plans, I would like to reassure you that the Government is acting to protect the Green Belt from inappropriate development.

The Housing White Paper, published earlier this year, emphasised the Government's continued commitment to protecting the Green Belt. Ministers want to amend and add to national policy to make it clear that: Green Belt boundaries should only be amended in exceptional circumstances, when local authorities can demonstrate they have fully examined all other reasonable options for meeting their identified housing requirements; and where land is removed from the Green Belt, local policies should require the impact to be offset.

Planning policy also guarantees strong protection for National Parks, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and Sites of Special Scientific Interest. The Green Belt also enjoys protection against erosion from caravan and traveller sites. The Government also has an ambitious programme to bring brownfield land back into use in England and is working closely with local authorities to drive this forward. This will ensure that development is prioritised on brownfield sites rather than at the expense of our countryside.

Newspaper column 15 November - Waste and Recycling in Cornwall

The second week of November was another interesting one for me.

In Parliament I was delighted to host a reception for the charity Shared Lives, so my MP colleagues could come along and see for themselves some of the brilliant work this group is doing. Shared Lives provide residential care in family homes for adults with special needs, and following a visit to one of their providers in St Austell earlier this year, I am pleased to have been able to highlight their work in Westminster.

On Friday it was also great to see the Prime Minister announce that the date and time we will be leaving the EU - 11pm on 29th March 2019 will be set in law. We can now set our Brexit alarm!

As Parliament rose early it has been great to spend more time than usual at home in Mid-Cornwall, and I have been able to attend Remembrance Services in St Austell, Newquay and St Columb Major, visit several local businesses including the award winning Old Barn at Tregonetha, meet with the Leadership Team  at St Mawgan in Pydar School to discuss their plans for the future, welcome the new Vicar at St Goran Church and hold a lively and informative Meet the MP session at the Safe Harbour in Fowey.

One of the issues local people have raised with me recently is the situation with Cornwall Council and their proposed move to fortnightly waste collections with a possible limit to two black sacks per household per collection.

At a time where the powers that be at Cornwall Council got a ton of flak last week for using a consultancy firm from upcountry, at a cost of £75,000 to tell us that we think Cornwall is a great place to live, you would have thought they would have steered clear of any more controversial decisions for a while. However it appears they already have another one lined up!

It is clear that Cornwall does have some work to do to catch up with the rest of the country in terms of recycling. However the needs of Cornwall, with its unique geography and large number of small rural communities, are very different to more urban areas that often have higher recycling rates. Have Cornwall Council actually thought about the issues households would face with overflowing waste sacks and food being left in situ for two weeks at a time? The seagulls would have a field day at least.

You would have thought that Cornwall Council would have consulted with their public before putting such a big decision on their Cabinet’s agenda for this week but aside from a few posts on social media, this seems to have been lacking. It is telling perhaps that the new/old Liberal Democrat/Independent regime at the council are more willing to spend thousands of pounds asking consultants from upcountry what they think, than they are asking their own electorate, the people of Cornwall, what we think.

Cornwall Council is, of course there to represent and serve of the people who live in Cornwall. Sadly it seems that once again those in charge are focusing elsewhere instead of what really matters.

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 Additionally, I hold regular, appointment only, advice surgeries across the constituency. Dates of these can be found at:

Wednesday, 8 November 2017

Newspaper column 8 November - Changes to letting and service charges

Last week was a busy one for me. In Parliament I spoke in a number of debates, including leading one on proportional representation via my role on the Petitions Committee, and also contributed to the tax on beer and pubs debate, which with St Austell Brewery a major employer in Mid-Cornwall is particularly important to us ahead of the upcoming Budget.

Following this, I came back to Mid-Cornwall for a packed few days, including meetings with Cornwall’s leadership board, filming my slot on BBC’s Sunday Politics, a busy constituency advice surgery in St Austell and selling poppies with the Royal British Legion ahead of Remembrance Day this coming weekend.

Meanwhile last week also saw the introduction to Parliament of a new draft bill to ban letting fees.
While the Government is taking many positive steps to increase and encourage home ownership, it is also crucial that we protect those in the rented sector, which has long been under regulated and has not provided enough protection of both tenants and landlords alike. Whilst many letting agents provide a good service, it is clear that there are some who do not.

The draft Tenant Fees Bill will set out the Government’s approach to banning letting fees for tenants, helping millions of renters by bringing an end to costly upfront payments.

Evidence shows the level of fees charged are often not clearly or consistently explained, leaving many tenants unaware of the true costs of renting a property.

This latest action will help improve transparency, affordability and competition in the private rental market. It will also prevent agents from double charging both tenants and landlords for the same services.

As well as these changes, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government Sajid Javid last week announced plans to crack down on letting and management agents who make tenants, leaseholders and increasingly home owners on new estates, pay overpriced service charges.

Government data estimates that services charges paid to management companies total between a staggering £2.5 billion and £3.5 billion a year, a vast amount of money.

Many leaseholders and home owners share the cost of maintenance and repairs, including for open spaces, paying service charges. I have had many complaints about landlords and letting agents arbitrarily increasing service charges.

The Government is in the process of bringing measures to protect consumers from unfair costs and overpriced service charges as well as providing ways to place more power in the hands of consumers by giving leaseholders and owners more say over their agent.

As ever with Parliamentary Bills, its passing through Parliament will be a lengthy process and the devil will be in the detail. I will be closely monitoring this Bill as it proceeds to ensure concerns that have been raised with me by tenants and landlords in Mid-Cornwall are reflected in the finished legislation.

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 Additionally, I hold regular, appointment only, advice surgeries across the constituency. Dates of these can be found at:

Wednesday, 1 November 2017

Newspaper column 1 November - The Bloodhound

Last week I had the privilege of seeing the Bloodhound Supersonic Car (SSC) during its test run at Newquay.

The Bloodhound SSC is designed not only to go faster than the speed of sound (supersonic) but to over 1,000mph, smashing the current land speed record, which is 746mph. The Bloodhound will cover a mile in just 3.6 seconds. The Car is powered by both a jet engine and a rocket, which together produce more than 135,000 horsepower: that’s more than six times the power of all the Formula 1 cars on a starting grid put together.

The Bloodhound came to Cornwall Airport Newquay because of the length of its runway – something that makes it an ideal place to trial the car ahead of its full attempt.

It is particularly good to see that all of the schools in Cornwall have been invited to visit the Bloodhound during its time at Cornwall Airport Newquay. One of the stated aims of the Bloodhound project is to inspire the next generation about science, technology, engineering and mathematics, also known as STEM subjects.

It is crucial that future generations embrace and do well in STEM subjects, to ensure the UK remains at the cutting edge of global science and technology development. I hope that witnessing the tremendous achievements of the Bloodhound first-hand will ignite or fan the flames of creativity among our pupils from schools in Mid-Cornwall and set some of these children up for having a lifelong love of STEM subjects.

Also while I was with the Bloodhound team I had the chance to have a good chat with Richard Noble, the project director and former world record holder behind the project. Richard is an inspirational character and it was great to be able to talk to him about his ventures, previous achievements and future plans. His enthusiasm for innovating and pursuing such an extraordinary goal is plain to see and something which I would love to see grow with similar high tech ventures in Mid-Cornwall.

With our world now an increasingly digital one, I have always championed bringing new businesses to Cornwall whose work forces can work remotely from our beautiful county. It is important that we get not just more jobs for Mid-Cornwall, but jobs that are highly skilled and better paid, therefore improving our economy and the living standards of all of us who live here.

Attracting high-tech investment in the spirit of the Bloodhound project is a good start but there is much more to do. I will continue to do all I can both locally and in Westminster to realise this goal.
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 Additionally, I hold regular, appointment only, advice surgeries across the constituency. Dates of these can be found at:

Wednesday, 25 October 2017

Newspaper column 25 October - Housing

There is no doubt that one of the biggest challenges facing our country is that of housing. We feel this here in Cornwall probably as much as anywhere else in the country with the ratio of average wages to average house prices one of the biggest in the country.

I am very encouraged that Theresa May has made tackling this crisis her top domestic priority. A recent survey showed that 86% of people aspire to own their own home. We need to do all we can to enable people to attain to this desire.

In recent weeks we have seen a number of announcements introducing policies that begin to address this issue. From more money for social housing, to a new Help to Buy scheme and measures to address service charges charged by management companies.

This weekend saw further announcements of a consultation on how the government can make buying a house cheaper, faster and less stressful. These are all good news and I welcome this renewed focus on housing. As always we need to see these announcements result in action and changes to legislation and I will continue to keep a watchful eye as things develop.

There are two issues particularly I would like to see addressed.

One is that of stamp duty. This tax on house purchases is often a barrier particularly to first time buyers and those seeking to move up the property ladder. I would like to see stamp duty abolished completely for first time buyers. One of the ways we could achieve this is by switching stamp duty to the house seller rather than the buyer.

I also believe we need to provide greater protection for those buying new homes. We clearly need to build more houses to meet the current demand. These need to be in the right locations and with the supporting infrastructure, jobs and services in place. But we also need to address the issue of the quality of construction today.

There is a disturbing trend of defects and faults during construction that is increasing at an alarming rate. Around 30% of those who purchase new build properties today report that they are dissatisfied with the level of defects they find.

I have been contacted by a number of local constituents who have not only faced an unacceptable level of problems with their new homes but have also failed to get the protection and support from the warranty company.

Most new build houses today are sold with a 10 warranty in place. The most common of these are provided by the National House Building Council (NHBC) who have around 80% of the market.
It seems unacceptable to me that consumers today have more protection when buying a new mobile phone than they do, for what is for most people the biggest purchase of their life, a new home.

As a result, last week, I was pleased to secure a debate in Parliament to specifically address this matter.

It is clear to me that the current system of warranty is failing too many people and needs to be reviewed. Too often there appears to be a too cosy relationship between the warranty company and the builders. I also believe we should consider an independent Ombudsman to act in the new build housing market to hold developers to account for the quality of their work.

With a renewed emphasis on housing it is vital that we ensure all new houses are of a quality that will mean they will be the family homes for the future.

Animal Cruelty

Michael Gove, Secretary of State for Food, Environment and Rural Affairs recently announced at the Conservative Party conference that the government will legislate to increase the sentencing guidelines for animal cruelty. As a dog owner myself, I think people who abuse animals are abhorrent and welcome this move by the government.

I hope the new, harsher sentences (up to 5 years) send a message to people who abuse animals, it is not acceptable and will be punished severely including having a reasonably long prison sentence.

I look forward to this law coming to the House and I hope it is implemented as soon as possible. 

Tuesday, 24 October 2017

Energy Bills

I do share concerns over increase in prices. Suppliers are protected from recent fluctuations in the price of wholesale energy as they buy their energy up to two years in advance, and prices remain significantly lower than in 2015. I therefore expect energy companies to treat their customers fairly.

As you are aware, the Government made a proposal to extend the price protection currently in place for some vulnerable energy consumers to more of those on the poorest value tariffs. Rest assured, the Government is committed to doing so and the Energy watchdog Ofgem has accepted the call for further action.

More specifically, the Business and Energy Secretary, Greg Clark, has written to Ofgem asking what action the regulator intends to take to safeguard customers. Ofgem has committed to taking prompt action, in consultation with consumer experts, to develop proposals including a safeguard tariff. The Government wants to see rapid progress on this commitment and has not ruled out taking further action if necessary.

There is already a prepayment price cap in place protecting households least able to benefit from competition. On 1 April 2017 a prepayment price cap came into force protecting over four million households using pre-payment meters. The temporary cap, which will remain in place until the end of 2020, is expected to reduce bills across Britain and will save the average household £80 a year.

Ultimately, Government policy costs make up a relatively small proportion of household energy bills and they cannot by themselves explain price rises announced by energy suppliers. Indeed, a recent report from the independent Committee on Climate Change shows that policies driving energy efficiency improvements have offset the cost of energy policies and have, on average, resulted in lower energy bills for households.

Monday, 23 October 2017

Breast Cancer

It is important that every effort is made to continue raising awareness of breast cancer, and tackle this disease, which has taken so many lives over the years.

In 2015, Public Health England launched Be Clear on Cancer, a national scheme which, I am pleased to say, has significantly improved awareness of breast cancer in women over 70, who account for roughly 1 in 3 cases of breast cancer. Breast cancer survival rates have improved remarkably over the last 40 years, and this is testament to the efforts made to raise awareness of, and boost funding into tackling this disease.

I know that ministers are making great efforts to improve cancer services, and ensure that the NHS provides some of the world's best cancer care. The NHS has launched the National Cancer Programme which is committed to offering uniquely tailored cancer treatment to all patients with breast cancer by 2020. It is working closely with Health Education England and Macmillan Cancer Support to understand the best ways developing and implementing cancer services by the same date.

You may be interested to know that the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) is updating its guidelines on the diagnosis and management of breast cancer. These guidelines will cover the use of adjuvant bisphosphonates and other cancer drugs, and will be published in July 2018.

I believe these developments will significantly improve patient experience and quality of care. The NHS is implementing the independent Cancer Taskforce's recommendation that all breast cancer patients shall receive access to a Clinical Nurse Specialist, or other key workers. This will enable greater detection of any recurrence or secondary breast cancer, and enable a quick and effective return to care.

This is part of the NHS's ambitious wider strategy to improve cancer outcomes, and save 30,000 lives per year by 2020.

Friday, 20 October 2017

Public Sector Pay

As you may know, the government are looking at increasing public sector pay by asking pay review bodies to take into account recruitment and morale among each sector. As police and prison officers pay review was coming up they have already been announced.  

As other reviews are conducted during the next few months, they will take into account the additional criteria such as the ones mentioned above. It is important to remember why both the Coalition and Conservative governments have maintained this cap because the public sector pay bill makes up over half of departmental resource spending, and continued pay restraint remains central to deficit reduction strategy to get us back on a financial even keel from the disastrous deficit we inherited in 2010. Whilst we have cut that deficit by 75% we still have a deficit of 2.6% which is running at £52bn a year or £1 billion every week.

This is not sustainable and will saddle future generations with debt that will need to be paid in high taxes or spending cuts. We have taken tough decisions in the national interest over the last few years and we are close to achieving a budget surplus and paying down our debt, we cannot allow political expediency to get in the way of that. To put the size of debt in context, we now spend more on interest servicing that debt then we do on defence.

The Chancellor will therefore have my support to come forward with properly costed and sustainable measures to increase public sector pay in the Autumn Budget.

Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Newspaper column 18 October 2017 - New incentives for GPs in rural areas

Last week was a busy week in Parliament for me. A particular highlight was the Tourism and Hospitality Day on Tuesday where, in my role as Chair of the Visitor Economy All Party Parliamentary Group, I was able to meet with a number of leaders in the tourism sector from across the South West, and discuss a number of key issues and explore opportunities to ensure this vital part of our economy is well represented in Parliament.

I also ventured over to Truro on Friday for a busy day at County Hall attending our regular meetings with NHS leaders, Cornwall Council leaders on the devolution agenda, as well as other organisations including the Cornwall Chamber of Commerce.

On Thursday I was really pleased to see the announcement from Secretary of State for Health Jeremy Hunt, that from 2018, G.P. surgeries in hard-to-recruit areas will benefit from a new government-backed scheme – the Targeted Enhanced Recruitment Scheme – which will offer a one-off payment of £20,000 to attract newly qualified G.Ps to work in areas of the country where training places have been unfilled for a number of years.
The Department of Health has also asked Health Education England (HEE) to make sure many of the 1,500 additional medical training places that will be funded from next year are located in priority areas, including rural and coastal communities. The Secretary of State specifically mentioned Cornwall in his announcement and so I am pleased that the Health Secretary has listened to the calls from myself and my Cornish MP colleagues to address the challenges we face in the NHS in Cornwall and the Government has acted accordingly.
This should relieve some of the pressures on our hard-working G.P’s and I look forward to seeing the fund put in place. On a wider scale, Cornwall’s NHS has been in the news recently because of the recent Care Quality Commission (CQC) reports on the NHS Cornwall Clinical Commissioning Group and Royal Cornwall Hospital Treliske.

The NHS staff on the ground are dedicated and do their best for the patients in their care. There are many good practises highlighted in the report such as the care and compassion shown to patients. What this report shows is that this is clearly a failure of the management and systems at the hospital.
Now that these issues have been recognised and the hospital placed in special measures the Government will provide support and additional resources will be made available to address the underlying causes.
A significant failing is the delayed discharges and subsequent impact on Treliske Hospital. There is a lack of integration between the hospital and Cornwall Council’s adult care services. The Government made additional funding available to address this back in March and it is frustrating that so little progress has been made. In my meeting with the NHS and Cornwall Council on Friday we discussed the need for them to step up and deliver positive change for these services.
I know that local people will be very concerned about this situation and I will be doing all I can to work with the local health services, NHS England and the Government to ensure things improve as soon as possible and that the people of Cornwall get the quality of health services they deserve.

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Newspaper column 11 October 2017 - The Conservative Party Conference 2017

A lot of headlines recently were generated by the Conservative Party Conference, which was held in Manchester over the first part of last week.

The assumption is that all Conservative Members of Parliament go to Conference, but actually many don’t and this year I was one of them. Whilst the party conferences serve a purpose, I prefer getting on with my job as MP and working for the good of the people of Mid-Cornwall locally.

Of course, the highlight of the Conference was the Prime Minister’s speech. While most of the headlines generated by it seemed to focus on the fact that the PM had a cold, if you look further there were also some great policy announcements which have been overlooked by much of the media.

The Prime Minister announced ‘a new generation of council houses’. This will be done by increasing the government’s affordable housing budget by £2 billion to more than £9 billion, encouraging councils as well as housing associations to bid for this money and, in those parts of the country where the need is greatest, allowing homes to be built for social rent well below market levels. This should be of particular benefit to Cornwall where we have an acute need for genuine affordable housing for local people.

The Prime Minister also announced a £10 billion extension to the Help to Buy scheme. This scheme is aimed at helping first time buyers get on the property ladder with as little as a 5% deposit. The previous scheme was very successful and I have been lobbying the Government to introduce a new scheme which I am pleased we are now doing.

I was particularly pleased to see the PM launch an independent review of the 30 year old Mental Health Act. This is badly needed and should tackle many longstanding injustices of discrimination in our mental health system. This is an important step in our struggle to get better recognition and support for those who suffer with mental health conditions.

It was also good to see the Prime Minister announce a major review of university funding and student financing. This will include scrapping the increase in fees that was due next year, and freezing the maximum rate while the review takes place. The Government will also increase the amount graduates can earn before they start repaying their fees to £25,000. 

In other notable announcements from the Conference, I was pleased to see Secretary of State for the Environment, Michael Gove, confirm the Government will be consulting on bringing in a plastic bottle deposit return scheme, something I have long campaigned for. I was also delighted to see the announcement of the ban of sales of all ivory in the UK – a positive and long-needed step to help to save the elephants.

Away from the media hysteria and storms in a teacup generated by those with nothing better to do, it was good to see positive progress from the Conference. As ever with policy announcements, the devil is in the detail. Over the coming months I will study the legislation as it comes forward and do all I can to make sure that Mid-Cornwall sees maximum benefit from them.

Wednesday, 4 October 2017

Newspaper column 4th October - Ministerial visits to Mid-Cornwall

While this week sees the Conservative Party Conference in Manchester, last week was a really busy week in Mid- Cornwall, and I was really pleased to visit St Austell Town Council, get my flu jab in St Dennis Pharmacy, hold a great Meet your MP event in Newquay, attend and speak at a public meeting in Grampound about the possibility of a by-pass, as well as meet residents and local businesses about a wide variety of issues.

Also last week, I welcomed two Government Ministers to Mid-Cornwall, Sajid Javid MP, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, and Minister for Exiting the European Union, Steve Baker MP.

As part of the Government I am always keen to get those who run the Government down to Mid-Cornwall so they can for themselves the unique challenges and issues that we face.

Sajid Javid MP visited the Eden Project. As well as being one of the top international tourist destinations in the UK, the Eden Project also has plans to produce deep-geothermal energy.

Geothermal power is cost-effective, reliable, sustainable, and environmentally friendly, and recent technological advances have dramatically expanded the range and size of viable resources, especially for applications such as home heating.

During his visit we discussed the exciting potential of the deep geothermal energy plans at the Eden Project and sought his support for this project. If the project proceeds it will be another new and exciting innovation in Mid-Cornwall that will provide renewable energy for the local area, as well as the highly skilled, well paid jobs that would go with operating the site.

Steve Baker MP, who was actually born in St Austell and is a fellow old boy of Poltair School, visited Newquay Aerohub and Cornwall Airport Newquay, both key areas of economic growth potential for Cornwall. This was part of a tour throughout Cornwall to allow him to understand the concerns and opportunities around Brexit.

Clearly leaving the EU will have a major impact on business in Cornwall and will present both challenges and opportunities. I am pleased that I was able to bring the minister to our constituency so that he could hear first-hand the views of local businesses. I will continue to do all I can to ensure the voice of Cornwall is heard in the negotiations and that we make the most of the opportunities ahead.

I felt both visits were very productive and both Sajid and Steve went away with a good idea and perspective of what we face in Cornwall. I will continue to be your strong voice in Westminster and as part of that will ensure that those at the very top of the Government come here and see why Mid-Cornwall is such a great place to live, work and grow up in. 

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 Additionally, I hold regular, appointment only, advice surgeries across the constituency. Dates of these can be found at:

Wednesday, 27 September 2017

Newspaper column 27th September 2017 - The Prime Minister's speech on Brexit

Last week was another positive week in the constituency, and I was pleased to get out and about across Mid-Cornwall, meeting with residents and businesses from Newquay to Mevagissey, going to see pupils at schools in St Stephen and St Austell, meeting with Primary School Head Teachers, Cornwall College, the Federation of Small Businesses, Cornwall Housing and Cornwall Partners in Care, as well as dropping in to the G.P. surgery in Fowey.

At the end of the week, the Prime Minister gave her speech on Brexit in Florence. I welcome the points raised in the speech and think this gives a clear update on how negotiations are going, the timescales involved and what the end result will be in terms of our leaving the European Union.
I have had feedback on a variety of things contained in the Prime Minister’s speech and was keen to raise these issues on behalf of the residents of Mid-Cornwall with the Prime Minister when I met with her over the weekend. I thought it would be helpful in this column to address the issue of the implementation period, which is the one that has been most raised with me.

Firstly in terms of the timescale for leaving. I am pleased that in her speech the Prime Minister reiterated and confirmed that:

“The United Kingdom will cease to be a member of the European Union on 29th March 2019.”
“We will no longer sit at the European Council table or in the Council of Ministers, and we will no longer have Members of the European Parliament.”

It is good that the Prime has re-affirmed her commitment to this timetable for us to leave. The announcement of an implementation period of around two years from March 2019 has caused some controversy. In reality, as the Prime Minister said,

“ …the fact is that, by March 2019, neither the UK - nor the EU and its Members States - will be in a position to implement smoothly many of the detailed arrangements that will underpin this new relationship we seek.”

“Neither is the European Union legally able to conclude an agreement with the UK as an external partner while it is itself still part of the European Union.”

The UK’s exiting of the European Union is one of the biggest pieces of legislative change to come along in generations. The changes that need to be made to legally ensure that we are no longer a member are not ones that can be made overnight, both in terms of making the legal changes but also in physically implementing them, both here and in the EU. We need to keep in mind that it had taken more than 40 years for us to reach the point we have in regards to our relationship with the EU and it is simply unrealistic to expect this to be undone in a matter of a few months.

In my conversation with the Prime Minister I was particularly keen to seek reassurances on the implementation period where it comes to immigration. As I said earlier, it will take time to put in place the new laws, particularly the system required to re-take control of the UK’s borders. The Prime Minister reassured me that although, during the implementation period, people will continue to be able to come and live and work in the UK, there will be a registration system – an essential preparation for the new regime. She also confirmed that anyone who comes to live and work here from within the EU after March 2019 will not have the same rights to remain here as those EU citizens who are already here. This is good news and I look forward to seeing this implemented as the negotiations progress.

As always. the devil will be in the detail. While the progression made in the negotiations so far, as outlined by the Prime Minister is encouraging, there is still much more work to do, and I look forward to working with colleagues to scrutinise and challenge if necessary, the plans as they proceed towards us leaving the EU.

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Newspaper column 20 September 2017 - Funding for our schools

After a really busy two weeks in Parliament, we are now back in Recess for the Conference season, which will allow me to spend more time out and about visiting local people, businesses and organisations.

During the last two weeks I have spoken in Parliament on a number of issues, handed a petition in to Number Ten on a single use plastic bottle return scheme, and voted through the EU Withdrawal Bill at 2nd reading.

Right at the end of last week I was also really pleased to see the Government come forward with its announcement on fairer funding for schools. In the run up to June’s General Election this was a major issue. Some local candidates sadly used this issue to scare-monger on the supposed cuts that the Government would be making to schools, despite there being a clear manifesto commitment from the Conservative Party that no school would be worse off.

I am pleased to see, a few months down the line, that the Government has delivered on our manifesto commitment and provided increases in funding for schools across the board. Under this new funding formula there will be an increase the basic funding that every pupil in every school will attract; a minimum per pupil funding level so that, under the national funding formula, all secondary schools will attract at least £4,800 per pupil, and all primary schools will attract at least £3,500 by 2019-20; provide for a minimum cash increase in respect of every school of 1% by 2019-20; and provide up to 3% gains per pupil in 2018-19 and a further 3% in 2019-20 for under-funded schools.

This is really good news for schools in our constituency and indeed across Cornwall. The average increase in our constituency will be 2.7% with some of our smallest most rural schools receiving well into double figure increases in their per pupil funding.

This is an issue I have been campaigning on since I was elected. Just last week, I questioned the Secretary of State in the House of Commons on the importance of recognising the rural nature of some of our schools and their communities and that this should be a significant factor in any funding arrangements.

I am therefore pleased to see in this announcement that for the smallest, most remote schools, the Government will distribute a further £26 million in dedicated sparsity funding. It is key that the Government understands the different needs of rural communities to urban communities and considers the costs of delivering services in relation to this. Nowhere is this more important than in the education of our children.

There is still much more to do though, and I look forward to continuing to work with my colleagues to deliver better and fairer funding for Mid-Cornwall in key areas such as education, local government and policing in the years to come.

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