MP's column

It’s Volunteers Week and people know how important volunteers are. It’s extraordinary the effort people make. Our county would be a poorer place without the generosity of volunteers. 

Investing in people’s skills is key to ensuring everyone has an opportunity to live a full and rewarding life. The Jobs and Growth Group that I set up a year ago meets again on Friday to look at how we ensure people get the skills they need. It’s not good enough to accept that Cornwall has lower than average earnings. With investment in transport and mobile and broadband technologies it is easier to create well paid jobs in the far west. However, local people should have access to training and skills development and the Jobs and Growth Group will put forward plans on how this can be delivered.

On the subject of skills, if you get this in time, from 4.30 - 6pm today (Thursday), the ‘Work for the NHS+’ event, co-hosted by Royal Cornwall Hospital Trust, Penwith College and myself, takes place at Penwith College with employers and trainers on hand to explain how it’s possible to work and train locally in health and social care.

Sarah Newton MP and I often discuss the opportunities that come with a Carbon Free Cornwall. Sarah helpfully directed me to Climate Vision and their useful online tool that helps all of us to be part of this journey. My suggestion for week 7 towards a Carbon Free Cornwall is to encourage each other to take the pledges! Climate Vision has ten carbon pledges which include: switch to green energy, buy local seasonal veg, learn about climate change, reduce the use of the car, work out our carbon footprint, reduce energy use at home including turning down the heating (but stay comfortable), halve our air miles and learn to drive in a greener way! These are actions we can all make to reduce our environmental impact. For each pledge in full go tohttp://www.climatevision.co.uk/top-ten-pledges

The leadership race to succeed Theresa May begins next week. Despite her Brexit record, Theresa May deserves to be remembered for her role in record house building, record cash and advances in NHS treatment, her firm leadership against terrorism, the strong economy, record low unemployment and higher wages despite a very challenging environment. Her successor is charged with delivering Brexit and I’ve seen sensible and workable plans on how this can be achieved from MPs hoping for the job. While recognising the Brexit challenge and other important priorities I’ve written to candidates (who are seeking my support) asking how they will deliver the Committee for Climate Change’s recent recommendations regarding cutting harmful emissions. It is possible to create a low carbon economy that creates and spreads wealth across the UK, giving people a stake in how our nation grows and prospers without causing harm to our environment. I’ve promised my support to the candidate who most strongly demonstrates their commitment to this. You can read the letter and see the responses I’ve had to date at derekthomas.org