Recent activity both at home and in Westminster

October 2017...

Following an early team meeting in Penzance I travelled across to London. In Westminster I met with British Heart Foundation and the Red Cross to support their campaign for all schools to teach one hour of CPR and I met a teenage girl who recently saved her dad's life using CPR just two weeks after receiving CPR training at school. Fantastic.

Parliamentary debates come thick and fast including debates on the Smart Meter Roll-Out, universal credit, social care, supported housing, southwest rail, business rates and taxes on small businesses (a debate I secured as a back-bench MP) and nuclear power to name a few. We also had a very moving debate on the issue of Surgical Mesh Implants which have caused such trauma to so many women (and some men).

I met twice with the Treasury, including the Chancellor as we prepare for the Budget. Once to discuss infrastructure spend and investment in the Southwest and to discuss the need to dramatically address the housing shortage.

Meetings also took place to discuss access to employment for people with disabilities and I had the great pleasure of opening the Lighting the Beacon event at Truro College setting out the County's commitment to create opportunity for everyone irrespective of their challenges or perceived disability.

Also met with Southwest water, as I do fairly regularly, to pick up on local concerns and work to support households to reduce their bills. Two armed forces events took place in Parliament: one a briefing on the amphibious task group and the second to recognise the achievements of service men and women in the Fleet Air Arm including personal from RNAS Culdrose. In RNAS Culdrose itself I was privileged to attend a Trafalgar Day celebration.

Local schools do a great job helping to prepare our children for life and work and I was pleased to visit both Cape Cornwall School and Humphry Davy School individually celebrating new initiatives and the enthusiasm and energy of the staff are a credit to the schools.

My drop-in events have continued and I have now travelled to almost every part of the constituency giving everybody the opportunity to raise ideas or concerns. I find these events hugely constructive.

Edward Hain Community Hospital remains closed for inpatients and the general feeling is that this has gone on long enough. Efforts are being made to open the beds through a working group set up to address the various difficulties placed in our way. The Hands around the Harbour event in St Ives was supported by over 600 people and was a great opportunity to state clearly our united commitment to ensuring local people have access to the services they need.

Look out for the film 'Unrest' which tells the story of people who suffer from ME/CFS. This film will help to address the prejudice that still exists towards sufferers of the condition. NICE are reviewing their guidelines to address the inadequacies within the health and care sector which I know is very welcome. A viewing of the film was shown in Parliament.

Leonard Cheshire founded a number of charities supporting vulnerable people. The best known will be the supported housing homes that feature across the country. We have one in Marazion. This year is his 100th year and supporters of his work joined together to celebrate his achievements. I joined in and met two of his children who continue to promote the good work of Leonard Cheshire Disability.

Since being elected I have made it a habit to meet regularly with different 'sectors' in the constituency. This included meetings both with local farmers and domiciliary care providers. Both are helping me to shape pieces of work designed to improve the opportunities available in these sectors. I have taken a particular interest in the future of EU Nationals and hosted a meeting to discuss with them the insecurities they face and what is being done to secure their future in the UK.

Meetings I held in West Cornwall also include a meeting with fishermen regarding the need to secure investment in the industry, secure the labour they need and the fishing rights they deserve after Brexit.

I also met my MP colleagues and with Council leaders and NHS Managers to battle over the current pressures on health and care provision in Cornwall and on Scilly.

Other things I take an interest in are issues surrounding securing investment in innovation. This is a key issue as the UK leads the world in many respects, but we lag behind in the investment in research and development. More locally post offices in rural communities face a real struggle to sustain a viable future. It really is a matter of use it or lose it. St Keverne, Newlyn and Lizard are all areas where more must be done to secure these vital community services and I met with managers of Post Office Ltd to continue these efforts.

Housing is a big issue for people in Cornwall and on Scilly and I hosted a meeting with Council Housing Officers and developers to try and unblock the impasse that hinders homes from being built despite the plans having been given consent.

Finally our second annual Great Western Dog Walk took place on a very wet and windy Saturday. I was pleased with the turn out and the fun dog show was a great addition to this year's event for Cornwall Hospice Care.

Derek Thomas