MPs Column

Following the PM’s announcement of an extra £20 billion uplift in NHS funding by 2022/23 I was pleased to host an event in Parliament with the campaigning group 38 Degrees. They have carried out some extensive research and state that there is public support for a penny in the pound increase in income tax. This confirms separate research I’ve seen although people are very clear: they support such a rise only if the money is clearly directed towards the NHS. The reality is that a one per cent increase will raise just 1/4 of the extra cash promised by the PM and on Tuesday I met with the Chancellor and a small number of colleagues to discuss how this money could be raised. What this Government won’t do is spend, borrow, spend, borrow etc etc as Labour did (supported by my predecessor throughout) leading to significant national debt and placing intense pressure on public spending.

Over the weekend I was privileged to ‘drop-in’ on a number of events marking this year’s Great Get Together inspired by the late Jo Cox MP. It was a real pleasure to meet so many people and chat about their lives and experiences. I’m grateful to all those who took time to put on an event and welcome new faces. I was also glad to enjoy some of the activity of Mazey Day and Quay Fair in Penzance. Many people worked hard to make the week’s festivities what they were and the weather was equally accommodating. The England versus Panama World Cup match was the icing on the cake although I was desperate to avoid the coverage until I could watch it ‘as if live’ on Sunday night.

The Transport Secretary was in town once again on Friday to open the new Train Care Centre and travel along the A30 to St Erth. He could not have been clearer: investing in the A30 all the way to Penzance would follow the Carland Cross to Chiverton Cross improvement to start in 2019 https://highwaysengland.co.uk/projects/a30-carland-cross-to-chiverton/. He was right to state that such significant investment schemes must be staggered to avoid unnecessary interruption and damage to our economy. He made clear that, in the meantime, safety work is on its way once the necessary studies have been carried out. This is welcome because the evidence is clear; the demand on the A30 to Penzance has increased dramatically in recent years as economic activity has increased. This is before the planned expenditure on Penzance Harbour commences, before the improvements on Newlyn Harbour are completed and before the many houses that are ‘in development’ are inhabited. For me, these investments, including the investment in the rail link, makes it easier for local people to secure the skilled and well paid jobs available elsewhere. One of the highlights of the Transport Secretary’s visit on Friday was his opportunity to meet a young man who hopes to learn a trade on the railway in the new train care centre.