A Brighter Future for Cornwall
Last week I launched our new White Paper on the future of fisheries. It sets out how we will take back control of our waters after we leave the EU and how we will adopt a new methodology for the allocation of fishing quotas internationally so that we get a much fairer settlement for our own industry and can develop sustainable fishing policy for the future.
There has long been an historical injustice in quota allocations to the UK fleet. In 2015 the UK allocation of Cod was just 834 tonnes compared to 5,500 for France. For Plaice in the Channel it was 1,300 tonnes for the UK, but 2,600 for France. Many local fishermen feel frustrated that they sometimes have to tie up their boats because they have run out of quota but they see French vessels continuing to fish in Cornish waters. Taking back control of our fishing grounds will give us the opportunity to revisit quota allocations and make things fairer.
However, I have always been clear that the UK will continue to be a world leader in promoting sustainable fisheries. We will not allow a free for all and one of the conditions of any future access we grant will be that all vessels fish sustainably and within limits to protect our marine environment. That is why the White Paper is so important because it sets out what our future relationship will be whilst still maintaining the highest possible standards for our marine life.
This is an exciting time not only for fishermen across Cornwall as we start to take back control of our waters and the fish stocks in them. I am proud that we have a White Paper that clearly sets out how the Government will monitor and maintain our future fishing stocks so that we can pass them onto future generations of fishermen. We will be able to re-establish national control for fisheries management out to 200 nautical miles or the median line as provided for in international law. We will then negotiate new access and quota sharing arrangements that are fairer to our fishermen.
Last week was also the NHS’s 70th birthday. The NHS is a great British institution which all of us will rely on it at some point in our lives. That’s one of the reasons why the Government recently announced that it will increase NHS funding by almost £400 million a week - more than £20 billion a year - by 2023/24 as part of a historic long-term funding plan for the NHS. The many hard-working nurses and doctors who contribute to this success have a lot of be proud of.
Locally we have some great health services such as at St Michael's Hospital, which is a national leader in breast surgery, and Camborne and Redruth Hospital which has a number of specialisms including stroke and prosthetics. While there will always be some challenges facing our NHS given the size of the organisation and its complexity, we should recognise its achievements and celebrate the good news.