Housing in Cornwall

Everybody should live in a decent and safe home. No one should be homeless or living in poor quality housing.

Since being elected I have worked hard to deliver more genuinely affordable homes for local people and improve the quality of existing homes.

I have championed community led housing for local people. New taxes on second homes are being used to build new homes for local people in Cornwall. For the years 2015-2018 Cornwall Council and the Isles of Scilly Council will receive £21,248,740 which will provide 909 affordable homes for local people. This is in addition to government schemes to help people own their own home.

While I’m confident that the majority of landlords in Cornwall provide decent accommodation, unfortunately I know from my constituency casework that there are some landlords who will cut corners to get as much money as possible while potentially endangering their tenants.

I am pleased to have supported measures that crack down on this minority of “rogue” landlords in Cornwall. Landlords who flout rules on safety and affordability face tougher penalties. New rules came into force on 6 April 2017 so that landlords cannot shirk their responsibilities.

To help Cornwall Council build up their capability to tackle “rogue landlords” I helped secure additional funding for this purpose. Cornwall Council officers are now taking action including prosecutions. The financial penalties that Cornwall Council now have the power to secure should enable them to fund much more rigorous action.

Cornwall Council now has access to tenancy deposit protection data that help them identify rental properties and so that they can take targeted prevention and enforcement work.

Please don’t suffer in silence and fear “revenge eviction” contact me if you feel your home is not safe. We will try and help you resolve issues with your landlord.

Health Services in Cornwall

Last week I returned to my weekly routine of spending Monday to Thursday in Westminster and Friday, Saturday and Sunday working for my constituents in Cornwall. I met with constituents to discuss support for local small businesses with the Federation Small Business and Cornwall Council transport to go through plans for our new train services and road improvements, including the A30. I enjoyed meeting voluntary community groups at the Perranporth Memorial Hall.

I also met with the Chief Executive of the RCHT to discuss the recent CQC report of an unannounced inspection of Treliske in January. One of my top priorities remains supporting our local NHS and care services. The Chief Executive told me that the full CQC inspection in July is an opportunity to demonstrate the action taken to improve and to provide the evidence that the trust’s care is safe and effective.

It’s important to note that urgent and emergency care services have improved their CQC ratings and shown their professionalism under pressure. Other parts of the report are very disappointing reading but the Chief Executive assured me that since the January CQC inspection, measurable improvement in areas such as emergency care, sepsis, mortality and stroke have been made.

The trust have just received the latest inpatient survey published by the CQC and seen good scores in important areas including, confidence in doctors and nurses, feeling safe and well looked after and treated with respect and dignity.

The very significant issue of delayed discharges remain and I have written to Cornwall Council to seek assurances that the considerable additional funding that they have been given for adult social care, £12 million alone this year, will be spent to tackle this issue. The delayed discharge of patients is not good for patients and leads to delays in planned surgery.

First published in the West Briton 19/06/17

General Election

It’s good to see that more people participated in last week’s General Election than in the recent past. More people registered to vote and the turnout for the General Election here is growing from 69.1% in 2010 to 70% in 2015 and 75.8% last week.

I am pleased that many more people are getting actively involved in our precious democracy too and am grateful to the enthusiastic team of local Conservative campaign volunteers. Despite the tactics deployed against me by an aggressive minority of keyboard bullies and poster defacers, whose intimidation seeks to undermine our democratic process, I am pleased that more people voted for me last week than the previous two General Elections. I am looking forward to continuing my work for all my constituents, irrespective of who they voted for. It is a great honour to be the local MP for this great constituency.

The General Election campaign, like the Referendum campaign, highlighted divisions across the UK. Gaps that need to be closed. From the many conversations or email exchanges I have had with local people, listening to their concerns, I know that there is more that unites us than divides us. I am confident that this community shares my passion and determination to face up to the challenges and opportunities we all face and build a stronger, fairer society that works for everyone.

While the Government does not have the majority it hoped for, it does have the ability and resolve to lead our nation through the Brexit negotiations that begin in a few days time. As I said on election night, I will be working hard to build bridges across the political divide, to find the common ground for the best Brexit and bring the country together with a shared vision of a united Britain.

First published in the West Briton 14/06/17