Parliament has now risen for February Recess so I am taking the opportunity to spend as much time as possible in Mid-Cornwall, out and about meeting local residents and businesses to hear concerns and feedback on my work for you in Westminster.
Last week I was pleased, along with Cornwall MP colleagues to secure additional funding for Cornwall from the Government.
You may have noticed that the Lib Dems and their friends who run Cornwall Council have recently started campaigning for fairer funding for Cornwall. This seems to have involved putting a press release out announcing their intentions and trying to get a hashtag trending on Twitter, but sadly not a whole lot of actual work.
It is clear that there have been historic funding inequities for Cornwall. For a variety of reasons successive governments of different parties have long failed to address these issues. However since my election in 2015, I have made getting the balance restored one of my key priorities.
I was pleased therefore, last week to meet with Local Government Minister Rishi Sunak and receive his commitment for an additional £1.7m funding for Cornwall’s Adult Social Care services and an extra £1.5m for the Rural Services Delivery Grant.
This goes along with other recent examples in the last year including the £2.3m funding already announced for infrastructure delivery at the West Carclaze Garden Village in Mid-Cornwall, and the £79m the Government has given for the building of the A30 link road to St Austell and the surrounding area.
It is great to see this additional funding from the Government. As well as the direct impact it will have on Cornwall, indirectly it has led to Cornwall Council deciding to tone down its plans for a massive 5.9% council tax rise this year, which will be a real boost for hard-working people who are already squeezed.
There is still more to do though. In Parliament I chair the Rural Fair Share Campaign group, a cross-party group of MPs, who support an impartial, objective, needs-based approach to funding local public services.
The campaign aims to reduce the rural penalty, which sees funding for public services in rural areas receive up to 40% less than in urban areas, whether this is for our schools, local government or Police.
I am pleased that the Government has now agreed to look at the funding formulas used again and conduct a comprehensive review that I believe will show it is simply more expensive to deliver services in rural areas than urban areas. We have already made good progress in establishing the principle that there is an additional cost of providing services in more sparsely populated parts of the country. But we now need to see this turned into more hard extra cash. The additional money secured last week is a good stopgap but I will continue to campaign for permanent change to ensure Cornwall gets the funding we deserve in the future.
My team and I are here to serve the whole constituency and work hard to make a real difference to the lives of everyone needing support. The office is open to the public Monday – Friday 10.00am – 4.00pm (no appointment necessary). If there is an issue you would like my assistance on then please, either visit the office or contact me on either 01726 829379 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Additionally, I hold regular, appointment only, advice surgeries across the constituency. Dates of these can be found at: www.stevedouble.org.uk/events