MP's Column

Cornwall Councillors want to play their part in reducing harmful emissions and protecting and enhancing our natural environment. Unless local authorities follow Cornwall’s lead, the Government has no chance of reducing the UK’s carbon footprint to net zero. Council Leader, Julian German, and I met to talk through each of the 15 suggestions I’ve offered to enable Cornwall to become carbon-free by 2030. I’m determined that we reach this target because the simple truth is that taking responsibility and caring for the world we live in is the right thing to do. The added benefits for Cornwall include; a healthier place to live, improved quality of our homes, greater skills and opportunities for our workforce and the promise of being more self-sufficient in our energy and food supply. What’s not to like? 

With Parliament on recess until the September 3rd I’m able to catch up on the many priorities that risk being placed on the back-burner whilst MPs are pinned in Westminster. This includes the opportunity to meet with local farmers and food producers. We discussed at length the challenge they face to continue to function especially the smaller farms. On average, British households pay a much smaller proportion of household income on food than ever before. We need a national conversation about how much we are prepared to pay for our food. I say this because our farmers produce just 62% of the food that is needed and could be produced in the UK, largely due to cheaper imports from countries that have lower food production standards and lower employment costs. This conversation must consider our need for food security as the global population grows, our commitment and need to decarbonise food production (which the farmers I met are keen to do) and the need to ensure good nutrition continues to be readily available to British households.

I am disappointed that Andrew George has stated that the new Women's and Children’s Hospital is not a priority. Tell that to the excellent staff who work in a very challenging environment in the Princess Alexandra Maternity Wing at RCHT Treliske, a building that costs a fortune to maintain, a building that Labour promised to rebuild in 2006 and a maternity wing that came under intense scrutiny by the Care Quality Commission two years ago, contributing to the Trust being placed into Special Measures. Mr George’s comments, that the £100,000,000 new hospital is not a priority, are offensive to mums and their families and to NHS managers who have worked for a long time developing this scheme. Cornish MPs, including myself, fully supported this call for cash to replace the Princess Alexandra Maternity Wing. This priority has been discussed on a number of occasions when we meet as MPs with the NHS leadership here in Cornwall. My predecessor’s comments demonstrate how far removed he is from the health system in Cornwall and how prepared he is to use our NHS as a political football. I fully welcome this £100m that is in addition to the £45m announced earlier in the year for our Cornish hospitals and I’ll continue to press for more unashamedly.