MP's Column

On Friday community leaders gathered at the Salvation Army in St Ives to discuss how the £25m offered by Government to St Ives could improve living standards and social mobility. I organised this meeting to ensure as many people as possible have the opportunity to contribute to the work that is being done to identify how this money should be spent. There was no shortage of sound ideas and examples of good work already being done and this work will continue with the support of the Town Council and Cornwall Council officers.

Headteachers in West Cornwall have always been generous with their time and over the years we have discussed a host of their individual challenges and priorities. I was glad to host a meeting with a small number of local headteachers and the Secretary of State for Education in my office where we talked honestly about the pressure on teachers and the problems presented by the historic funding formula and pressures on school budgets. We all agree that the new national funding formula is the right approach. The Secretary of State was able to confirm and clarify some details regarding recent commitments to increase funding for schools which was welcome.

Probation is not something that many concern themselves with but for people who have found themselves entangled in the Justice System their future life chances depend very much on receiving the right support. I raised this with the Justice Minister in Parliament on Tuesday as I have seen the good work of probation officers and others as they work to support the rehabilitation of our young men and women in particular.

Central London is taken over by the peaceful protests of members of the XR community and, as I’ve walked back and forth to Parliament, I’ve enjoyed some very constructive conversations. XR also hosted an event in Parliament setting out how Citizens Assemblies work and, although literature distributed by XR suggests that the Government has done nothing to combat the causes of climate change, generally speaking the people I’ve spoken to and the speeches I’ve listened to recognise that this is not the case and the only way to really respond positively and effectively to the challenge is to work together, putting our differences aside. Unfortunately, this was not the case in the debate that took place in the Commons on Tuesday secured by my friend Sarah Newton MP. Not all, but many opposition MPs took the opportunity to kick the Government and make party political speeches that serve only to undermine the cause and discredit the efforts of those they represent. The UK has done a great deal to reduce harmful emissions and clean up energy generation (harmful emissions have reduced by 40% since the 1990s when formal recording began) but we all recognise that we must accelerate measures to reduce harmful emissions and recover nature. This requires decisive leadership and an effective legislative framework from Government. This will also take the combined commitment of all political and community leaders irrespective of political differences.