Thursday, 26 November 2015

Autumn Statement

This week, George Osborne delivered his Autumn Statement to Parliament, setting out his spending plans for the next few years. Although there are some challenging decisions to be made, we all know that we can only have strong public services and strong defence if we have a strong economy to underpin it.  A lot has been achieved over the past five years with the deficit more than halved but there is more to do and this week we saw a plan to get this country living within its means again.

Some departments are protected. The Prime Minister has always been clear that he would increase the NHS budget and there is also additional money for counter terrorism with that budget increasing by thirty percent to back an expansion in our security forces.  

I have been working to ensure Cornwall receives its fair share of funding and have worked with our Police and Crime Commissioner to persuade the Government not to implement a formula that would have disadvantaged Devon and Cornwall Police. I am pleased the Government have listened to these concerns as it means that our community policing can now be safeguarded.

In other areas there has been a historical bias against rural counties and this needs to be put right.  In education, the formula is outdated and has always favoured local authorities in urban areas around cities.  In the last Parliament we put an extra £390 million to help top up areas that were under funded and the Prime Minister has made clear that he now wants to see a wholesale reform of the formula so that it targets need rather than being based on historic inaccuracies.

I have also been looking at the way NHS services are funded. The current formula which decides how much funding local commissioning groups receive from Government currently fails to take into account issues such as rural sparsity and I have been speaking with the Kernow Clinical Commissioning Group in order to develop proposals that would see this adjustment introduced the next time NHS England reviews the current funding formula.