In the week before the Budget you will not be surprised to learn that I joined many informal meeting to press the case for my constituents’ priorities. Top of my list is the need to keep the cost of living down by not increasing taxation - especially the taxation of fuel. This is a major problem for my constituents, particularly for manufacturers in Cornwall who have to get their goods to markets up country and overseas. For families bringing their cars on holiday to the West Country the extra cost of choosing Cornwall over Devon can also be a deterrent.
I also pressed the Chancellor to increase the amount of money people can earn before paying tax. This I believe will put more money into the pockets of those that need it most – people working for low and middle incomes as well as pensioners. I understand that there are many people in my constituency who are really feeling the pinch and struggling to make ends meet as a result of the measures we have had to take to get our economy back on its feet and to get back to living within our means. I want to make sure every penny of tax payers money is spend wisely and not wasted.
Large savings are being made by cutting out waste, for example in the NHS computer management information systems. Money saved is ploughed back into local services such as the A & E department at Treliske. It is encouraging that the latest official figures show that since the 2010 General Election, there are 2,500 more doctors, 200 more nurses and 3,500 fewer managers working in the NHS across the country. Whilst managers play an important role, under Labour their numbers increased at six times the rate of nurses.
I am reassured that the Chancellor shares my outrage at the tax loop holes that the wealthiest people find to avoid paying taxes. He is determined to close these loopholes as soon as possible. More than ever we need entrepreneurs and business people, in large and small businesses to work hard, create jobs and wealh.
On Friday, I enjoyed spending the morning with the Friends of the Royal Cornwall Hospital. Capably navigated around the hospital by the Chairman Beatrice Dyer, it was a pleasure to meet volunteers and staff and look at the wide range of improvements that the donations of the Friends have made.
These improvements have made a real difference to the quality of the working environment for staff as well as improving the experience of being a patient at Treliske. The Pheonix Appeal is already making a difference.
Every day there are about 37 volunteers working in the hospital and overall there are 650 volunteers. As the Chairman of the hospital trust told me – they play a vitally important role. So thank you to all those people who make a donation and join in the fundraising activities as well as those that give so freely of their time.