Parliamentary sketch – Three glasses half full

Posted on: 20th December 2013

Let’s see the glass half full (of something suitably non-alcoholic, of course!) as we enter the festive season. Here’s three cheers:

• I had called for the out-of-hours GP contract to be taken from the private company, Serco Health. We now learn that it will be terminated “by mutual agreement”.

The NHS cannot succeed if it puts profit before patients. We should use the opportunity that this contract change provides to put patients before profit; and to bring services together so that all unplanned medical needs can be dealt with by a better integrated NHS. If everything from “blue light” emergencies to health concerns which need clinical oversight before the GP surgery opens the following day were brought together in an integrated whole we would have a better service and it should cost less money.

• News that the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) has relaunched in Cornwall prompted me to warn that Cornwall doesn’t want to be turned into a replica of England “with deserts and millionaires and not a Cornish person in sight”!

We are quite used to people coming down to tell us that they’ve “discovered” the place – as if Cornwall hadn’t existed until their arrival! But, quite frankly, we don’t need any more NIMBYs who pull up the drawbridge after their arrival and proceed to tidy up and manicure the place until it’s unrecognisable.

However, of course we don’t want Cornwall to continue being treated like a developers’ paradise. After all, we’ve endured a faster pace of house building than almost anywhere in England over the past 50 years and yet the housing problems of locals have got worse. We’ve seen more second homes, more investment properties and more retirement developments but homes which are genuinely affordable to local people have become scarcer.

We need to find a better way. Perhaps the CPRE can work to protect Cornwall rather than working to recreate a little England here.

• I’m sure that local concerns about the controlled development of wind turbines and solar farms will continue. That’s why I’m pressing Ministers to make sure that any scheme which may have an impact on local peoples’ enjoyment of their environment must ensure that the local people enjoy the benefit of the development as well. Unless the community benefits from access to cheaper energy or regular investment as the developer reaps the dividends then, I believe, the local community (through the local authority) should be entitled to look very hard indeed at such applications.

You can contact Andrew George by email: His constituency office can be contacted at Trewella, 18 Mennaye Road, Penzance, Cornwall, TR18 4NG. Telephone: 01736 360020.

Andrew George MP
Kernow a’n West ha Syllan
West Cornwall and the Scillies
Kwartron Porthia
Constituency of St Ives
Tel: 01736 360020
Fax: 01736 332866

16th December 2013