The Autumn Statement will be presented by the Chancellor on Wednesday.
I am particularly interested in any announcements following the Comprehensive Spending Review regarding the following areas:
Tax Credits – I have always been confident that additional measures could be secured for low earners. I, along with a number of backbench MPs had made the case to George Osborne. I hope to see additional support for low earners including care and support workers, teaching assistance and self-employed people as they grow their business.
Our Police – I have been critical of the very public nature of the debate over police funding. Until we actually know what jobs are to be lost we should avoid any statements that cause distress and uncertainty for our Police and PCSOs and their families. I do not believe that the police budget will be cut by 20 – 40% as has been suggested.
Our Schools – A number of Southwest MPs have been pushing for fairer funding for education (and policing and health). I believe we will hear good news on this in the statement on Wednesday.
The NHS – The Government has already stated its intention to spend an extra £10billion on the NHS each year. Whilst extra money is not all that is required to address the pressure on the NHS I am hoping for extra for palliative care and mental health services. We may need to wait a little longer for news on this.
Business Rates and public toilets – It would be great if the Chancellor could scrap rates on toilets (a Cornish MPs campaign) and reassure the high street that we will continue to help them compete with out of town stores.
Fuel Poverty – I have been leading the campaign to get the Chancellor to use money earmarked for infrastructure investment to improve the efficiency of our homes. This will reduce demand on health services, reduce living costs, save energy and create skilled jobs. Whatever the outcome on Wednesday I will continue my efforts in this regard.
Science and Innovation – Government spending on this creates well paid skilled jobs and helps us to lead the world in this field. Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly has a direct interest in this as I believe this is the area that gives the best chance of reducing the average pay gap between us and the UK. There is room for job growth in Cornwall and on Scilly in the Renewables Sector, Space Sector, E-health, Unmanned Aviation, Big Data, Gaming and other high-tech areas.
As a backbencher I have little knowledge of what will be announced on Wednesday. I have been particularly engaged in fighting for the issues I mention above. Only time will tell if this work has been effective.