The debate about what triggered the rise in covid cases in Cornwall is an unhealthy distraction from what actually matters. The data, through track and trace, places the spread predominantly amongst our young adults connected to education establishments and hospitality and before the G7 Summit. Having said this it would be naive to think that the concentration of people, including people engaged in peaceful protest, does not present an increased risk of infection spread. What really matters is that adults of all ages take care to follow the hand washing, face covering, social distancing and self isolating (when required) and take up the opportunity of an increased availability of vaccine clinics. The vaccine team continue to pull out all the stops including additional clinics in Penzance and a ‘pop-up’ clinic on Saturday at the Guildhall St Ives 2 - 5.30pm. Appointments for both first and second doses at the pop-up must be booked by logging on to the national NHS booking service, or calling 119 free of charge.
I welcome the Government’s plan to reform the planning system. The intention is to clearly state what areas must be protected from development and where homes should be built. This will be done through local consultation and will help to plan much more effective infrastructure investment. I took the opportunity to speak in the Commons this week stressing three areas that the legislation must deliver for Cornwall and Scilly. We must find ways to ensure adequate quality housing for local people to own. The Planning White Paper must lead to stronger communities securing the future of the pub (a critical issue in St Martin right now), the post office branch (a critical issue in The Lizard right now) and local school (a critical issue in Coverack right now). The reforms must open further opportunities for local small builders and construction companies to provide apprenticeships and well paid skilled jobs through the building of the hones we need and the improvements to existing homes to ensure they are greener and more efficient.
This week is Armed Forces Week and covid still frustrates our efforts to recognise and celebrate the incredible work our soldiers, airman and marines past and present. It is also an opportunity to recognise the families of our service men and women and the sacrifices they make. I am a vice-chair of the All Party Parliamentary Armed Forces Group and we are privileged to receive regular briefings about the traditional armed forces that we are more familiar with and the shift towards an advanced, super technical and IT savvy defence force under the sea, on the ground, in space and online. We live in a safe country and much of this is to the credit of our armed forces.
I was pleased to attend Marazion Town Council meeting in person to talk through the need to secure a low carbon transport system connecting Penzance, St Ives and Hayle. I believe there is an opportunity to secure improvements to the rail link, the A30 upgrade, deliver the multi-use ‘off-road’ Bay to Bay path and improve the natural environment and our town and parish councils play a vital part in this.