Monday, 21 November 2011

Combating high fuel costs

Last week I joined two important debates in Parliament. The first concerned reform of EU Fisheries Policy. While the concerns of the commercial fishing interests were well represented by colleagues from all around our shores – I was pleased to be able to highlight the importance of sea anglers. Before I was elected I campaigned against EU proposals which would have hindered the ability of local people catch and eat fish for their supper. Nationwide hundreds of thousands of people enjoy sea angling and this contributes £1 billion to the economy.

I was pleased that in responding to the debate, the Minister recognises the social and environmental benefits of recreational sea angling, and that the needs of sea anglers are at the heart of plans for the future of our coastal waters.

I was one of the MPs that pushed for a debate into the effects of increases in fuel prices on the cost of living and jobs. In the debate I was able to highlight the everyday issues of the costs of going about our lives in Cornwall where access to public transport is patchy. In the last Budget the Government did scrap the planned increase in fuel duty and I will continue to press for no further increases.

It is not only the impact of rapid rises in petrol and diesel prices that have been concerning but the cost for people living off the mains gas grid in Cornwall for heating their homes this winter. So far the mild weather has really helped but that will change. I have been working with CAB in Cornwall as well as housing associations and poverty forums to get information out to those that need it as to how they can save money on thier heating biils. There is help for people who need it but it is difficult to find. I have produced a ‘help sheet’ and I encourage everyone to make sure they have all the information to help themselves and thier family and friends to save money. The help sheet is on my website or call my office for a copy on 01872 274 760.

Some parts of the national media have been encouraging ‘better off’ older people to give their winter fuel payment to ‘poor older people’. I would urge anyone thinking of doing this to make sure their money is kept in Cornwall and send a cheque to Cornwall Community Foundation who have set-up a fund to receive donations and give the money to organisations and people in the duchy. Full details can be found on the ‘help sheet’.

Finally, I would like to mention the work of the charity Pancreatic Cancer UK, which campaigns to raise awareness of and support research into Pancreatic Cancer. November is Pancreatic Cancer Awareness  Month, intended to raise public awareness of a cancer that in the UK has a five year survival rate of just 3 percent. More information about Pancreatic Cancer UK , and the support services they provide for local people can be found on their website or by calling 020 3535 7090.

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