Back to normal is possibly something that no longer exists but we will start feeling the impact of unfurling ourselves from 15 months of covid restraint and restriction. For example this week support provided through the job retention scheme (furlough) reduces to 70% of wages and 60% in August, the Stamp Duty holiday comes to an end but most importantly there is a feeling and realisation that we can live with covid and still keep people safe. Tuesday’s football match victory will serve as a significant boost to people’s confidence which, for me, is very welcome and not before time. This tournament and Wimbledon serves as a much needed tonic and I hope people can embrace increasing freedoms over the next three weeks. Obviously the rise in covid cases must be managed but the absolute truth is that the spread of the Delta Variant is not leading to massive numbers in hospital and large numbers dying.
I was under pressure from constituents over the weekend to join others baying for the blood of the Health Secretary Matt Hancock. It was right that he resigned quickly as we must practice what we preach if we are to impose the kind of restrictions on people’s lives that we have. However, he can be credited for his part in the vaccine rollout which is keeping people out of our hospitals and saving lives. Matt Hancock has also driven the 10 Year NHS Plan, overseen the increase in nurse and doctor training and delivered the uplift in new hospital building projects. West Cornwall Hospital, St Michael’s and Treliske hospitals are receiving significant financial investment on these sites all designed to improve care and keep care as close to home as possible.
Sajid Javid is the perfect successor for the Health Secretary job and I’m relieved as there are outstanding initiatives I’ve been driving and my relationship with Sajid helps to ensure a smooth transition. St Mary’s Hospital development is the obvious priority but I’m also working to improve the research and treatment of brain tumours as Chair of the Brain Tumour All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) and the pathway for diagnosis, treatment and support for people who have diabetes as the Chair of the Diabetes APPG. The covid pandemic has wreaked havoc on people living with diabetes. Huge numbers have died and many have missed treatment and support. We can focus our attention on this lifelong condition and, in turn, improve the treatment of other lifelong conditions.
Planning enforcement is a hot topic and wherever I turn I hear examples of people who are blatantly breaching planning processes with little regard for those who are impacted by these actions. I’m meeting with Council officers to understand what the restraints are on enforcement to see if the Planning White Paper can be used to address this growing problem.
Mazey Day in Penzance was very different to usual but I’m glad the schools and organisers took the time to create the Morrab Garden display. It was great to see the ideas and skills that had gone into a varied set of exhibits. It was also good to hear the bands playing in town and catch up with people enjoying the experience and the sunshine. We have missed the gatherings and festivals that are usually a regular feature of our summer season here in West Cornwall.