I have always argued that we need to make progress to improve the historic unfairness in the way various funding formulae operate in Cornwall.
In the last Parliament I led the campaign to get every Cornish household a £50 rebate on their water bills and also campaigned to introduce the new Pupil Premium which is paid to schools to help children from disadvantaged backgrounds. Progress was also made on the NHS formula with greater recognition given to the age of our population.
However, there is further to go and I want to build on the successes so far. This week I met Tony Hogg, Police and Crime Commissioner for Devon and Cornwall, to discuss some of his ideas to improve the police funding formula.
The current formula is too heavily based on population numbers and density. This favours more urban areas, but fails to address the challenges of policing a large, rural area like Devon and Cornwall. Nor does it address the fact that as a popular destination for holidaymakers, the police have to contend with the annual influx of tourists and the difficulties such a large increase in the population temporarily brings.
The Government has announced that it will be reviewing the way in which funding is allocated and I will be working with Devon and Cornwall Police to make sure the new formula takes into account the unique geography and challenges which our area faces so that we don’t stand to lose out.
In addition to police funding, I also recently met the head of the Kernow Clinical Commissioning Group and other local NHS managers and I really want to focus on looking at ways to achieve a better deal in terms of healthcare funding. Again, I think we need to recognise the challenge of running a health service in rural areas. People also need healthcare most at the end of their life and that is why the government was right to increase the weight given to the age of the population. We have started to put things right, but there is further to go.