MP's Column

I wish everyone the very best for 2016.

Unexpected challenges will need to be addressed as we journey through the year. There are also challenges that we are well aware of and I want to explain what is being done to address these.

Farmers have had an extraordinary year with problems challenging every aspect of their industry. Farmers continue to get paid below the cost of production for a whole raft of products and this threatens the very existence of many of our farms. I have secured a debate in Parliament on January 6th and will be asking for more decisive action from the Government so that our farms will be able to meet the needs of our nation. It is vital that we take future food security seriously in this island nation.

Also in January two important meetings are taking place in Cornwall.

The first, to ensure we can adequately support the Syrian refugees that are to be provided for in Cornwall.

The second, to seek to establish good palliative care for all who need it. This event, on January 29th, is unprecedented and brings together MPs, medical professionals, health commissioners and campaigners.

In February I shall be hosting a conference organised by Penwith College student, Primrose Brechtmann, to seek to address the problem of fuel poverty in West Cornwall and on the Isles of Scilly. According to recent studies we have some of the most poorly insulated homes in the EU. I hope to use money allocated by Government to improve housing infrastructure, to dramatically reduce the 'leaky' nature of our homes here in the far southwest.

March I am hosting an event in the House of Commons that brings small producers from West Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly in direct contact with London buyers. There is a demand for the goods we produce and this event seeks to build on the 'Freight on the Rails' initiative and increase the opportunities available for our local small producers.

Whilst this does not cover all the issues facing us, hopefully it gives an indication that work is being done to address people's priorities.

Best wishes

Derek Thomas
Member of Parliament for St Ives