News from the Constituency with Derek Thomas

In the past month I’ve pressed Government on a number of issues that have a direct impact on Helston and the Lizard.

This includes funding for the NHS. I joined a number of MPs from all parties calling on the Prime Minister to provide a long-term funding settlement for both the NHS and social care. Subsequently the announcement of extra money for the NHS equates to £394 million a week (about £230 million a year extra for Cornwall and Scilly). In the past month I pressed Jeremy Hunt to look at how the money is shared out. Since 2012 the growth of NHS funding in the SW has been 2 percent less than the English average. Each year the funding gap grows! Jeremy Hunt has agreed to look at this issue. The draft proposals for social care funding are to be published in the Autumn.

In the past month I have argued that steps must be taken to reduce the burden of business rates on shops in West Cornwall. The business rate charge is outdated and and should be replaced by a form of transaction tax. This would inject fairness for the high st and tax our out of town stores and online retailers properly. In a recent debate I proposed that, in the meantime, Helston could be used as a pilot and retain 1 or 2 percent of business rates collected to ‘give the town centre (as a retail destination) a fighting chance’. The positive impact would be significant if our towns and parishes retained just 1 percent of business rates collected.

In the past month further meetings have taken place with Post Office Ltd to resolve the challenge in Lizard. The Post Office Federation are now on the case and I’ve been encouraged by their action. It is only fair that Len and Linda are enabled to retire and they are reluctant to do so unless a successor can be found. I’ve been promised a solution by the end of this month!

Finally to fishing; the draft UK Fisheries Policy looks good for our fishing community. The challenge I gave to Michael Gove only last week was to find ways to invest in our fleet and our ports for both the inshore fleet and the offshore fleet to prepare for this ‘new dawn’ for UK fishing. The EU Common Fisheries Policy has depressed UK fishing from the outset.

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