As Cornwall Council considers what should be in the plan to be Carbon Free by 2030 I thought it would be of interest to set out each week in this column some of the ideas and opportunities that could be grasped to help achieve this worthy ambition. These ideas are being formulated through a series of meetings and discussions I’ve had from the start of the year and I hope Cornwall Council will give serious thought to them.
Many of us drive older cars that generate harmful emissions. Lots of families, if given the opportunity, would choose a more environmentally-friendly car. However, people don’t have sufficient disposable income and have many other demands on their finances. Cornwall Council should be bold and design an attractive ‘scrappage scheme’ that creates an adequate incentive for families to exchange their ‘gas-guzzling’ older car for a much more fuel efficient alternative. If this was included in a Carbon-Free plan seeking Government support I, for one, would argue strongly for the merits of this to the Treasury Department. Over Easter Sarah Newton MP and I met with senior officers and councillors and we included in our deliberations this carbon-free agenda. It was a very useful dialogue which I know will continue and, as Members of Parliament, we will work to open doors to Government support and assistance. If you are interested in feeding in your ideas to be considered as part of the Council’s plan to be carbon-free please contact me and I will either forward your suggestions or provide the contact details for the appropriate officer.
In addition to this my priorities for West Cornwall and for those living on Scilly are clear. They remain the same as when I was first elected and are about skills, jobs, housing and health. I believe these themes should be at the forefront of the Government’s thinking for the whole of the UK along with accelerating the positive action required as we care for our environment. Education: we have a job on our hands to ensure our children get the best start in life and that includes funding education adequately. Government has done a lot to instil some fairness into schools funding but more money must be made available to the Education Department. The NHS and social care: the NHS and social care is working better together in Cornwall and, as the year progresses, there will be more opportunities for members of the public to contribute to this much-needed development. Here in Cornwall and on Scilly we must not take our eye off the ball. Both locally and nationally, meaningful integration of health services and of care services must accompany the extra cash that is being injected into the NHS and social care. House-building and faith in democracy: we must build the homes people need and can afford and get back to giving people a stake in our country, in Great Britain, which includes restoring faith in politics, in our democracy and restoring confidence in Great Britain.