MP's column

We are not building the homes local people need in West Cornwall or on Scilly according the National House Building Council (NHBC), the UK’s leading standard-setting body and insurance provider for new homes. This is not a surprise and the NHBC has released some worrying statistics regarding house building in the St Ives constituency. Last year just 139 new homes were registered. This year (2018), the figures falls to just 18. The actual number may vary slightly as the NHBC hold accurate data on 80% of new homes. Even if the numbers of homes built is slightly higher, the lack of new homes is worrying. In 2019 we must see more homes built, especially those where planning has already been granted, and we must do more to prioritise house-building on redundant sites. The High Street fund announced in the budget statement allows towns to re-purpose buildings, for example, by turning large retail units into homes. This creates the opportunity to provide good homes for people who prefer to be close to town centre amenities which is often the case for younger people and people later in life.

Christmas has raced up on us this year and I want to use this opportunity to wish you a very enjoyable and peaceful Christmas. At this time of year most of us will enjoy family time together, sometimes catching up with people that we haven’t seen for a long time. This is really important but over Christmas I’m also conscious of those who have lost loved ones, sometimes very recently. Their lives have been altered forever and I hope that someone is there to comfort and share cherished memories.

A moving aspect of my job is chairing the Parliamentary Group on Brain Tumours. Whilst we work to change the way brain tumours are diagnosed and treated and work to improve the lives of both patients and families, I have found that the meetings also serve as a support and safety net for people living with brain tumours and those who suffer a loss. Sending them on their way at our recent meeting so close to Christmas brought home to me the trauma and pain they feel every day. We will work harder to ensure we get the right treatment and care for all who are struck by terrible disease.

I was glad to receive some positive news for people who use West Cornwall’s post office services during a parliamentary debate I secured on rural post offices last week. Post Offices Minister Kelly Tolhurst MP, announced an extension of the mobile post office service in West Cornwall to include Heamoor, Gulval, Carbis Bay, Leedstown, Praa Sands and Crowntown and also pledged that greater efforts would be made to ensure that rural sub-postmasters have a viable business. Also, in the new year, the CEO of Post Office Ltd has promised to visit West Cornwall to discuss the particular challenge we face. I’m so grateful to all those who are taking part in this worthwhile campaign for our rural post office network.