West Briton Column 17 January 2013

Call me old fashioned but I believe that candidates seeking election should do what they say they are going to do after they get elected.

Last week we saw the Coalition government provide an update on what it has delivered so far as well as next steps. I am pleased the Government is delivering on key pledges that I made to you before the General Election. Enabling children from the poorest and most neglected backgrounds to have the extra support they need at school to enable them the best chance of achieving their potential and securing a good job through the Pupil Premium was a key Conservative pledge that is now being delivered in Cornwall. When the Pupil Premium was introduced in 2011 schools in Truro and Falmouth received over £660,000. This financial year funding has been more than doubled to £1,385,000.

Introducing new apprenticeships for people of all ages was a key pledge. The number of apprenticeships being created has now more than doubled. I am working with local employers to make sure that apprenticeships are delivering the skilled workers they need and the new jobs that people need. Nationwide over a million new private sector jobs have been created in a two year period. Local numbers of unemployed people are falling.

The Labour government underfunded the NHS in Cornwall. We inherited a situation that saw Treliske with a huge debt and Cornwall receiving 7% less than the Government’s own targets said it should. The gap is closing. Every year under this government investment is increasing. I am not complacent but pleased Cornwall NHS will get £941.8 million this year. This allocation, along with a further increase in funding the year before, means that overall funding for the NHS in Cornwall has increased by 6% since the Coalition Government took office.

Cornwall Council will be given £9.998m million this year, up from £7.448m million extra last year, to work with the NHS to improve care at home for adults with disabilities and the elderly.

These funding increases are being delivered while we have reduced the national deficit by over a quarter. Tough choices are being made while we are getting expenditure on public services and welfare covered by the income we raise in taxes.

The nation’s budget should not be balanced at the expense of the poorest people in our society. More money is being raised from the wealthiest people in every year of this government than any under Labour. Tax loopholes opened by Labour who were are being closed and this is bringing jobs to Cornwall as the HMRC are taking on more staff to tackle tax avoidance.

Conservatives have always believed that people should keep as much of the money they earn as possible. Like Boris Johnson who introduced the ‘ living wage’ as Mayor of London, I believe people in Cornwall should earn wages they can live on. That is still work in progress.

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