Thursday, 26 November 2020

Newspaper column 26 November 2020 - Spending Review news

This week sees the Chancellor conduct a one-year Spending Review, setting the Government’s priorities for 2021-22. Clearly at the present time the focus must be primarily on the response to COVID-19 and supporting our recovery from it.

While at the time of writing, the Spending Review has yet to take place, it will include a £500million package to support mental health services in England after increased demand for support during the pandemic, the majority of the funding will be spent on specialist services for young people, including in schools, and support for NHS workers.

In the same review, the Chancellor will unveil his long-term plan for infrastructure investment, and this will include the confirmation of the UK Shared Prosperity Fund, the government funding that will replace the regional EU structural funding that Cornwall has previously received. I believe that this funding, if less prescriptive and better targeted than the previous EU funding, will be better value and of more benefit to our economy than its predecessor.

While by necessity the Spending Review this week will be for a shorter period than originally planned, I was pleased to see some of the long-term priorities of the government set out last week with two major announcements.

Firstly, the Prime Minister set out a ambitious ten point plan for a green industrial revolution which will create and support up to 250,000 British jobs. This will mobilise £12 billion of government investment to create and support up to 250,000 highly skilled green jobs in the UK, and spur over three times as much private sector investment by 2030.

Covering clean energy, transport, nature and innovative technologies this will allow the UK to forge ahead with eradicating its contribution to climate change by 2050, particularly crucial in the run up to the climate summit in Glasgow next year.

Last week we also saw the largest investment in the nation’s defence in the last 30 years, providing our defence budget with an extra £24.1 billion over the next four years. The commitment will allow the Government to invest in cutting-edge technology, positioning the UK as a global leader in domains such as cyber and space and cement the UK’s position as the largest defence spender in Europe and the second largest in NATO.

These are both significant and positive national announcements and I will be working hard to ensure that Truro and Falmouth gets its fair share of the investment announced, with our burgeoning sustainable energy industry prime for investment from the green industrial revolution, and the excellent links Falmouth Docks continues to enjoy with our Royal Navy, Royal Fleet Auxiliary makes it a natural beneficiary for a refreshed and enhanced fleet.

Moving back to immediate events, next week will see the current COV-19 restrictions come to an end, on 2 December, and I will be continuing to make the case for Cornwall to return to a lower level of alert. The end of last week showed promising signs as signs indicate that coronavirus cases are starting to flatten as a result of current measures, so in the meantime I continue to urge everyone to stay safe and follow the rules to help us all in the fight against this virus.

If you need my assistance with anything then my team and I are here to help. Please get in touch with me by email at, by telephone on 01872 229698.




Tuesday, 24 November 2020

New local COVID-19 restrictions

 Following the Prime Minister’s announcement yesterday that England’s lockdown will end on 2 December and be replaced with the tier system I wanted to share with everyone the latest guidance. 

On Thursday 26 November the government will announce which areas are in which tier. You will also be able to use the postcode checker to find out the restrictions in any areas you plan to visit. 

The new rules will come into effect from the beginning of Wednesday 2 December  Businesses that are now permitted to re-open can do so from the start of Wednesday. 

The full guidance is below: 

I hope this will answer any questions you have but my team and I are always available should you need any further help.  Please do contact me on

Thursday, 19 November 2020

Campaign Response - Attend the debate on Wednesday and support a ban on peat burning

Thank you to the many constituents who have got in touch politely requesting my attendance at the Westminster Hall debate on Moorland Burning which took place on 18th November. Unfortunately, due to other important commitments I was unable to attend.  

The UK’s upland blanket bogs are an internationally important ecosystem – However I accept that much of this peat is in poor condition, with dry soils releasing emissions and threatening wetland species. This is mainly due to drainage and burning, primarily the result of intensive management for agriculture and grouse moors.  

The government very much remains committed to bringing peatland under sustainable management. The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) has committed to ban the burning of upland blanket peat bogs in protected areas. The 25 Year Environment Plan commits to all soils being sustainable managed by 2030, and the government is due to publish its peat strategy this year. I of course greatly await the outcome.  

DEFRA is also developing a peat strategy for England and is committed to restoring 35,000 hectares of peatland by 2025 through the Nature for Climate Fund, the equivalent of 10% of the upland peatlands in England.  

I believe that the measures taken by the government will be an important step as we aim to be net zero by 2050. You can also see further details about the Environment Bill on the link below: 

As ever if you would like to discuss this further or any other matter then please do not hesitate to get in touch. 


Wednesday, 18 November 2020

Newspaper column 19 November 2020 - Good news for cyclists, walkers, homelessness reduction and RCHT

As we move towards the third week under the new restrictions, I wanted to reflect back on two recent announcements from last week for additional funding for Cornwall in areas where we have been able to innovate during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Firstly I have been pleased to see Cornwall Council allocated £5.5million in funding from the Government to help protect some of the most vulnerable people in our communities from COVID-19 as well as help provide permanent solutions to end street homelessness.

In recent years Cornwall has bucked the national trend and significantly reduced the numbers of people sleeping rough in our county. Funding provided earlier in the pandemic led to virtually all of the rough sleepers in Cornwall being given a place to stay, and I want to see this continue.

I raised this in Parliament last week with the Housing Minister, highlighting some excellent work has been done in Cornwall to combat this issue by St Petrocs and by Cornwall Council, particularly with the success of the recent Pydar Pop-up project in Truro.

I was pleased that the Minister agreed with me that it is so important to tackle the long-term causes of street homelessness and provide, suitable, permanent education for these particularly vulnerable people. Last week I also wrote to the Leader of Cornwall Council and asked how the council on working with stakeholders to develop plans to spending this new government funding money effectively. The pop-up project at Pydar is an excellent first step and I hope projects like this will be expanded to help people off streets in the long term through this pandemic and beyond.

During the restrictions this year we have also seen a lot more people taking advantage of walking and cycling routes around Cornwall.  The COVID-19 pandemic has brought into focus just how important our daily exercise is. In Cornwall we are blessed to have such an amazing variety of places to walk and cycle to on our doorsteps, but it is crucial that we have the right dedicated cycling and walking infrastructure to allow people to get from place to place safely.

Last week the Government confirmed it will be providing another £607,000, under tranche two of the £175 million Active Travel Fund, to support walking and cycling in Cornwall, this will be really helpful in bringing forward further work on existing cycling and walking routes around the county.  I am pleased to support the Saints Trail plans between Perranporth and Newquay and would be delighted to see similar plans come forward for a dedicated cycle route between Truro and Falmouth. I look forward to working with Cornwall Council to see it is used appropriately.

Finally, I was pleased to see the new resuscitation unit at RCH Treliske opening to patients last week. This is the first phase of a £4.9 million development of the Emergency Department at Trelsike. A new MRI and oncology unit is also being built and the plans for the new women and children hospital are also well underway. My continued thanks to everyone at Treliske for the amazing work they are doing at this difficult time.

I hope everyone will continue to follow the latest rules and stay safe as we fight the virus. If you need my assistance with anything then my team and I are here to help. Please get in touch with me by email at or by telephone on 01872 229698.

Additional Covid support measures

I know from the emails I receive from constituents how worried people are about their health, the health of their loved ones, their jobs, their businesses, and their financial security. And that’s why the Government’s economic priority remains the same: protect jobs.  The Government have announced new measures – including extending furlough, more generous support for the self-employed, and plans to extend existing loan Schemes and the Future Fund to the end of January and an ability to top-up Bounce Back Loans.

These announcements will give businesses, whether they are open or required to close, the flexibility to adjust and plan over the coming months – and comes on top of the £200 billion package of support we have committed since the beginning of the crisis.

The Government have allocated £24 million to Cornwall Council to support businesses through this current period and I welcome this vital safety net to our businesses.

To offer support to those businesses not eligible under the Local Restrictions Support Grant, the Government has also allocated £11.4 million to Cornwall Council for Additional Restriction Grants.  

Details of the Additional Restriction Grant scheme can be found at the link below and will be updated shortly with details of how to apply:

Businesses can also find out more about other support available by contacting the Growth Hub.  Their service is free, independent and impartial and their friendly team of locally based experts work directly with businesses to help identify and access the support they need no matter what their circumstances.  Contact Growth Hub on 01209 708 660 from 9am until 5pm, Monday to Friday, or visit the website for a webchat with the team or to request a call back below:

My team and I are also available to assist in any way we can so if you would like more information please do not hesitate to contact me on


Thursday, 12 November 2020

Newspaper column 12 November 2020 - Baby loss and covid support

Last week in Parliament I opened a debate to mark Baby Loss Week. As I have written in the past, following my own tragic experience last year, this is an area that I know we need to spend more time talking about.

As co-chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Baby Loss I now have a real opportunity to help people facing the same experience and I am determined to make a genuine difference. I believe, despite the advances of recent years, that as a society, we should do better in this area, and truly I believe that we can.

Pregnancy and childbirth have always been perilous for women and even now, in 2020, with all our medical advances, there are so many babies we simply cannot save - early miscarriage stillbirth and the death of a new-born are all too common.

You can watch my speech via the below link:

Last Thursday’s debate looked at the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on baby loss. I was grateful following my speech to have feedback from a wide variety of people who have experienced their own losses as well as from the maternity team at RCH Treliske, who have had to make their own adjustments to continue working with the best interests of families at heart during this difficult time.

Over the weekend the Government confirmed an extension of the funding given to local authorities to support families with food and bills, with a £170million Covid Winter Grant Scheme.

The funding will be ring-fenced, with at least 80% earmarked to support with food and bills, and will cover the period to the end of March 2021. Local Authorities will receive the funding at the beginning of December 2020 and Cornwall Council will be receiving £1.8million.

This funding will allow councils to directly help the hardest-hit families and individuals, as well as provide food for children who need it over the holidays. Crucially, it will not just be limited to families that were eligible for free school meals, but will also be available for families that are not normally but have encountered difficulties during the COVID-19 pandemic, something that I have been working with colleagues to make the case to the Government for.

On Monday the company Pfizer published positive results from test studies of their potential COVID-19 vaccine.

Their vaccine has been tested on over 40,000 volunteers and interim results suggest it is proving 90 per cent effective at protecting people against the virus.

The vaccine now needs to be peer reviewed and if it does pass peer review, our NHS is ready to roll out a national vaccination programme, before the end of the year.

This is exciting news, but we must not be complacent. The virus is still very much out there and we must do all we can to follow the rules, stay safe and do all we can to stop it spreading.

My thanks continue to everyone working during these restrictions, key workers and volunteers, who are doing their bit to help our most vulnerable people and keep our communities in Truro and Falmouth running through this difficult time.

If you need my assistance with anything then my team and I are here to help. Please get in touch with me by email at, by telephone on 01872 229698.

Tuesday, 3 November 2020

The return of the Environment Bill

 Return of the Environment Bill Committee

I am on the Environment Bill Committee which today marks its return after a 7 month absence. In the committee we scrutinise the Bill line by line, vote on any amendments and take evidence from many stakeholders including environmental groups and industry on all points.


I am very passionate about the Environment and it will continue to be at the forefront of my role as the Member of Parliament for Truro and Falmouth.


The Environment Bill will help deliver the government’s manifesto commitment to delivering the most ambitious environmental programme of any country on earth.


It will act as one of the key vehicles for delivering the bold vision set out in the 25 Year Environment Plan, the Environment Bill brings about urgent and meaningful action to combat the environmental and climate crisis we are facing. It sets a new and ambitious domestic framework for environmental governance as we maximise the opportunities created by leaving the European Union and helps to deliver on the government’s commitment to be the first generation to leave our environment in a better state.

The Environment Bill helps to manage the impact of human activity on the environment, creating a more sustainable and resilient economy, and enhancing well-being and quality of life. It will engage and empower citizens, local government and businesses to deliver environmental outcomes and create a positive legacy for future generations.

The Environment Bill has been prepared through consultations with the public on numerous measures, including environmental governance; the clean air strategy; biodiversity net gain; trees; conservation covenants; extended producer responsibility for packaging; recycling; a deposit return scheme for drinks containers and water. Targeted stakeholder dialogue has taken place on other measures.

You can see further details on the links below:


The Environment Bill Committee runs on Tuesdays (9.25-11.25 and 14.00-17.00) and Thursdays (11.30-13.30 and 14.00-17.00) until 1st December and if you would like to listen in you can find it on the link below:


If you would like to discuss the Bill or any other matter, then please don’t hesitate to contact me: