MP Derek Thomas spoke up for West Cornwall in Westminster three times in a 24-hour period earlier this week, arguing for greater Government support on a range of issues.
In Monday’s debate on Sport, Mr Thomas once again pressed the Government to back the Stadium for Cornwall, this time concentrating on the health benefits the stadium would give the county.
In 2016 the Cornwall Sports Partnership committed to getting 50,000 people to being more physically active, claiming at the time that ‘never has the need to reduce inactivity levels in Cornwall been so urgent’.
Mr Thomas said: “It is important that the Government get behind this stadium because the Cornwall Sports Partnership is nowhere near delivering the extra 50,000 more people in the Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly being more physically active as part of daily life.
“It is already accepted that the geography of Cornwall presents challenges for access to sport and that Cornwall is not receiving its fair share. Sport England acknowledged just last month that there is a rural location factor and that access to and between facilities is a real issue in Cornwall. It also acknowledged that there has not been the same investment in Cornwall as in other parts of the country.”
Mr Thomas said that the Stadium for Cornwall partners were committed to delivering better health outcomes and that the stadium would be a sound investment for the Government, “because it provides an opportunity to improve the health and wellbeing of tens of thousands of people of all ages across the duchy”.
The following day, in a debate on the South West economy, Mr Thomas spoke of the need for the right sort of targeted Government support.
“Handouts are not needed, but Government policy, support and investment are needed to create a thriving and prosperous economy that leaves no one behind in Cornwall,” he said.
Highlighting that gross value added per head of £17,634 in Cornwall was 35% below the UK average and that wages were 20% lower than in the rest of the UK, Mr Thomas said that the Government must do more to support employment and apprenticeships and make further changes to the business rates system which is having a “crippling effect on our town centres”.
He also suggested that the need to find ways to limit the effects of global warming offered up great opportunities, skilled jobs and a sustainable future for Cornwall.
“There is a renewed ambition in Cornwall to reduce harmful emissions and increase renewable energy supplies,” he added.
“I would like Government funding to dramatically improve our fuel-poor homes, which are some of the leakiest in Europe; to empower greater development and installation of all forms of renewable energy; and to use the latest smart technology to improve the A30.”
Earlier that day, Mr Thomas had spoken at a debate on GWR and although he acknowledged that there were ‘teething and growing pains’ in the ongoing transformation programme being undertaken by GWR and Network Rail, he pointed out that there had been “more investment in infrastructure last year than in any year since Brunel built the railway” and looked forward to the forthcoming introduction of twice-hourly train services through Cornwall.
Mr Thomas followed up this contribution at Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday by challenging the Government to ensure that sufficient funds were in place to enable the Dawlish rail repair works in South Devon to proceed without further delays.
To hear Mr Thomas’s contributions in full, visit his website: www.derekthomas.org/news