MP's column

It may have escaped people’s notice that the Government’s energy price cap came into force on 1st January. This is unless you have seen a recent rise in your supplier’s standing charge. It is estimated that 11 million gas and electricity customers around the UK will save on their bills but I have seen the standing charge element of customers’ energy bills rise prior to the introduction of this energy cap. I’ve raised my concern with the Energy Minister, Claire Perry MP, and she has asked me to establish the extent of this across West Cornwall and on Scilly. The energy cap is constantly under review and the Government can act to ensure there is greater fairness so that consumers benefit from reduced energy prices. To this end I have created a survey on my website survey derekthomas.org. I’d be grateful if you can let me know how your energy charges have changed.

Keith Perry, a well-known figure in Penzance, died early this week. I knew Keith for many years and worked closely with him when I served on Penwith District Council and he on Penzance Town Council. I was sad to hear of his passing. He will be missed in Penzance and many will feel they have lost an advocate and friend. He and I shared different political convictions but we shared a kindred spirit on many things and worked well together.

Thank you to all those who attended the first of my health meetings last Friday evening in Helston and Penzance. These meetings give the opportunity for us to discuss how the Ten Year NHS Plan can help to address the priorities we have here in West Cornwall and on Scilly. This week these meetings occur this Friday in St Ives and Penzance and next Friday evening (15th February) in St Keverne. Please refer to my website for more details and the 10 year plan itself. In particular I’d refer you to the opening pages which give an excellent summary of the full document for those short of time.

Brexit dominates the news. However, this week in Parliament MPs also engaged in the important subjects of the role of sport to health and wellbeing, the performance of GWR and economic growth in the South West. I unashamedly focused on the benefit of the Stadium for Cornwall and the little publicised healthy outreach programme, the welcome investment in new trains and rolling stock, Long Rock Train Care Centre and the need to ensure the criteria for any central government funding recognises sparsity and deprivation in Cornwall and Scilly. Cornwall is rich in expertise and awash with ideas. I meet many people who work hard creating good jobs and make a significant contribution to our local economy. Policy set nationally and locally can serve to frustrate these businesses. I was glad of the opportunity to raise the incredible value of small and medium-sized businesses to Cornwall and Scilly and to argue that our job is to make their life easier and more rewarding.