Last week I was delighted to welcome the Minister for Energy and the Industrial Strategy to Cornwall to see for herself the innovative work that the Winter Wellness Partnership and, more recently, Warm and Well Cornwall have been doing. This effective partnership is making real inroads into a long standing, stubborn problem by doing things differently. Helping people on modest incomes stay warm and well in their homes by improving energy efficiency remains a priority for me. New technology is playing an important role, for example, free energy efficient central heating systems are being installed in homes in fuel poverty. Most of us take living in centrally heated homes for granted but there are too many cold homes in Cornwall without it. Last week’s Government announcements were welcomed by the partnership as they will enable us to build on our work of helping over 7,200 homes and 16,000 people to stay warm and well in winter by funding more help for more people.
New technology has the ability to improve many aspects of our lives. I am encouraging local businesses to apply for a share of £40million of government funding to develop new ways of charging electric vehicles. Electric vehicles significantly improve air quality, boost the environment and reduce costs for motorists. It’s vital we ensure the charging infrastructure is in place so we keep pace with demand. The government wants nearly all cars and vans to be zero-emission by 2050. A major challenge will be to grow the UK’s charging infrastructure quickly enough to make electric vehicles an attractive choice. The government has launched two competitions, with £40million up for grabs. The first focuses on charging vehicles in public spaces, to support people who don’t have suitable off-street parking. The second focuses on wireless charging of commercial vehicles, such as taxis and delivery vans.
There are so many innovative businesses in Truro, Falmouth and Cornwall as a whole, and it would be great to see some of them secure funding and lead this revolution in UK transport.
The deadline for applications for both competitions is midday on 29 August 2018.
Projects must be led by a business, working with other companies, local authorities, research organisations or charities.
New technology is also important for improving our local NHS. So last week I was delighted to see that the new Secretary of State for Health, Matt Hancock, has earmarked the NHS in Cornwall for a tech-funding boost of over £4 million.
The funding is part of a half a billion pound national package, available immediately to the NHS, to roll out innovative tech aimed at improving efficiency, enhancing patient safety and helping more patients access health services at home.
A good example is Scan4Safety where barcode tracking in hospitals is enabling staff to track all patients and their treatments, manage medical supplies and the effectiveness of equipment.
The funding will be formally allocated once our local NHS and care improvement plan, ‘Sustainability and Transformation Partnership’ is submitted and approved.
First published in the West Briton 26/07/18