Derek Thomas MP spoke in the Budget debate tonight, in which Members of Parliament assess the impact of the Chancellor’s budget last Wednesday on their own constituencies. Derek spoke up for the people of West Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, calling for the Government to continue its investment in the constituency.
Derek began by noting that the budget reflected a number of his priorities for the constituency of St Ives, most obviously the £48.4 million investment in the sea link between Penzance and Scilly. He praised the council and local transport board (which he chairs) for their hard work in preparing a submission for the Levelling Up fund, after a year in which lockdown had closed off most of the islands’ income:
“[They] worked like billy-o to complete a comprehensive submission for the fund in June. It was a remarkable example of nearly everyone putting their differences aside and knuckling down to deliver what the islands most need: an improved, resilient and affordable method of handling freight and transporting passengers.”
He also noted the Chancellor’s confirmation in the budget that Cornwall and Scilly would continue to receive the same level of funding for the life of this Parliament.
“All six Cornish MPs have been working to secure continued investment in Cornwall and Scilly from just weeks after the Brexit referendum. I remember that we met the then Chancellor, Philip Hammond, to explain why money we received via the EU for Cornwall would still be needed once we had left the EU. Soon after, the idea of shared prosperity was announced... I expect shared prosperity money to impact more households more positively than the EU funding did.”
He expressed disappointment that the match-funding for the Stadium for Cornwall was not included in the budget, to give a home for elite rugby and football and the UK’s first concussion unit, and called for it to be included in future plans.
“Cornwall has a population larger than Iceland, but no stadium or facility of that scale. We must persist, and there is absolutely no reason why the stadium cannot secure shared prosperity funding.”
Derek also mentioned the budget’s support for other initiatives he has been supporting: Family Hubs and the first 1,000 days programme, which looks at how we can best support a young life from the very start. These initiatives will transform the life chances of people in Cornwall.
He also praised the increase to the lower rate income tax threshold, the rise in national living wage and the changes to the taper for universal credit:
“The rising cost of living must be brought under control, but these changes will help many families in Cornwall and on Scilly.”
“The Chancellor’s Budget is good news for my constituents.”