Andrew George at Penzance Street Food Project

Weekly News Column

Posted on: 10th October 2019

Thank you to the media for highlighting of the daily struggle of local people. It helps to get an important message across. The BBC reports from Penzance this week exposes the plight of hard-working local families who endure the very low wage and very high house and living cost local economy.

Promises of tax and minimum wage improvements still years away cut no ice. While politicians continue to fight about Brexit thousands of locals toil in an unfair world which rewards the wealthy at the expense of families who endure poverty.

I’ve been a regular volunteer for the brilliant Penzance Street Food Project in recent years. Contrary to common perceptions many of those who struggle as street homeless or in perpetual vulnerable uncertainty and in need of our support are there simply through poverty.

Rather than faffing around with no clue Brexit deals, playing blame games and using the Queen to launch the Conservatives’ election manifesto next week, Westminster should be concentrating on this. We need change. To reverse the Conservatives’ cuts to working tax credits, benefits and their support for measures which have added to housing costs and the vulnerability of tenants. That’s just the first step.

Over £13 million has been slashed from school budgets in the St Ives constituency since 2015. Many schools can no longer afford basic equipment or enough teachers to deliver the full curriculum. PM Johnson’s magic money tree promises won’t reverse the Conservative’s school cuts.

We’d reverse tax cuts on large corporations to provide an emergency injection of £2.2 billion – equivalent to £113,000 for each school. Teachers must be allowed to teach, not distracted by high-stakes testing. Children who need most help have been let down. We’d reverse the Conservatives’ cuts. Especially in SEN.

In 2010 I warned the Government’s proposed badger cull ran the risk of making the spread of bovine TB in cattle much worse. I teamed up with Prof Rosie Woodroffe of ZSL to start the first community-led badger vaccination project in the country here in West Cornwall.

The Conservative’s obsession with culling badgers merely creates a purposeful-looking smoke-screen which keeps their bedrock farming voters content, even if the policy itself is at best useless.

This week more evidence has emerged this week which continues to back our concern and points to a different (and more effective and humane) set of policy solutions.

While the Cummings/Johnson Government continues its pre-election counterfeit money splurge on any popular-sounding project, especially in marginal constituencies like many in Cornwall, young people properly remind the Colonel Blimps in Westminster they’re wrecking the planet they arguing about. Behind the ‘warm words’ the Government hopes to mask their detrimental u turn in climate change policy since 2015.

This matter arose at the packed meeting I called last week at Penwith College. All parties attended except (as usual) the local Conservative MP. While most people are concerned about the UK imminently falling off a cliff into Brexit armageddon, the planet melting into oblivion and endemic poverty crucifying local families our MP’s priority is organising a dog show “with doggie goodie bags”!

This column has been submitted to publication in the local newspapers.