As I have snatched opportunities to help candidates in the local election this has given to opportunity to get ‘out and about’ across West Cornwall visiting villages and communities I’ve not ventured to for several months. This has been an enjoyable and rewarding experience and I want to pay tribute to everyone who rallied above and beyond to support each other during the past year. Towards the end of the year I plan to return to my ‘pub drop-ins’ right across the constituency which have been invaluable in allowing people to raise their ideas and concerns in person.
The Queen’s Speech next week will set out the Government’s and Parliament’s agenda and I’m not privy to its content. However, the key areas I believe will include the NHS, legislation towards net zero emissions and house building reforms. Having discussed the intentions of the NHS Bill with the Health Secretary there is a continued perseverance towards shifting the emphasis towards earlier diagnosis and earlier effective treatment all closer to home. In the UK we are very good at treating people who are very sick but we could do a lot more to avoid many of the illnesses from becoming so severe. Also the Bill intends to ensure the NHS and social care works as a more integrated service.
As the Government sets out further parts of the roadmap towards net zero emissions I want to hear about support for re-skilling, retraining, and research. There is a need for further green investments which serve to create new jobs to tackle the higher unemployment caused by the pandemic and help us to build the national workforce required to meet net zero. Builders, installers, and designers are needed to install low-carbon heating, improve flood defences and energy and water efficiency, or maintain wind turbines and solar panels. This will create jobs across the country and help the levelling up agenda. These are themes I’ve campaigned on for over 5 years now but there is no better time to enact these career opportunities. This can also tap into young people’s support for action to tackle climate change by putting our young people in the occupations that will directly deliver clean technologies. The Build Back Better planning reforms should do what it says on the tin. To build the homes we need making them more efficient and cheaper to run whilst protecting and enhancing our natural environment.
Finally, I want to also pay tribute to everyone who has stood for election at parish and county level. Many as party candidates many as independent. One thing unites them all - a belief and commitment to public service. For those who are successful it will be a return to meetings in person and the job of grappling with issues that impact us all such as housing and safety on our roads. I also thank all those who have served with distinction for decades and are choosing to stand down. Sue James, Andrew Wallis, Mario Fonk and Roger Harding are included in this list and I wish them all a relaxing retirement from local government.