20.09.2010 Local MP, Andrew George, will meet constituents on the Isles of Scilly during a three day visit to the islands next week.
St Mary’s on Monday 27th September 2010 at the Manse between 11.30am and 12.30pm.
Tuesday 28th September 2010 at the Old Estate Office on Tresco between 10am and 11.30am and in the Community Centre on Bryher between 2.30pm and 3.30pm.
He will be at St Martin’s Reading Room on Wednesday 29th September 2010 between 11.15am and 12.15pm and will also be available to meet with constituents on St Agnes at other times. For an appointment to meet Mr George please contact the Constituency Office on 01736 360020. For full details click headline.
15.09.2010“This is an important consultation," said Mr George. "The Coalition Government is committed to a science led approach to the control of Bovine TB..."
10.09.2010 Local MP, Andrew George, has signed up to the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) pledge to protect maternity services from any cuts, and to ensure first class maternity care. The RCM has launched the pledge...
10.09.2010 Andrew George MP is encouraging Second World War veterans and their widows to apply to the Big Lottery Fund’s Heroes Return Programme before it closes at the end of the year.
24.08.2010 Walking for the first few hours of the 1200 mile Help4Heroes walk from Lands End to John O'Groats, local MP, Andrew George, congratulated the young Territorial Army officers who were undertaking the gruelling walk for charity...
20.08.2010 Commenting on the news that the Secretary of State for Local Government and Communities, Rt. Hon Eric Pickles MP, has decided not to ‘call-in’ Cornwall Council’s application for Listed Building Consent for Penzance Harbour, local MP, Andrew George, said: “Whether the scheme goes forward as currently envisaged, or in some other form, it is most important that the future of the ferry link"...
18.08.2010 Andrew George – MP for the West Cornwall and Isles of Scilly constituency of St Ives and one of the most rebellious Liberal Democrat MPs in Parliament since the inception of the Coalition! – predicts that the Government will last the full five years...
16.08.2010 Andrew George warmly welcomed the announcement today from his Liberal Democrat colleague, Home Office Minister Lynne Featherstone MP, that the Government plans to introduce legislation to curb the activities of wheel clampers...
16.08.2010 Local MPs have sought clarification from Review consultants, Verita, on their progress into the investigation into the behaviour of the NHS South West in relation to the dismissal last year of John Watkinson by the Royal Cornwall Hospitals Trust...
Comment on Government appointments
16.08.2010 Click here to see a cutting from yesterday’s Independent on Sunday newspaper. Mr George had been contacted by the newspaper for a comment on the Prime Minister’s appointment of Sir Philip Green to lead a review on public sector spending cuts...
12.08.2010 Commenting on news that Cornwall Council has agreed to work on a dual Economic Partnership arrangement both with Devon and (for day-to-day purposes) with the Isles of Scilly, West Cornwall and Scilly MP, Andrew George, has warned that Cornwall should “remember the lessons of recent history, stand on its own two feet and avoid being straitjacketed by others”.
Mr George said: “Cornwall has achieved more in economic development terms in the last decade since it achieved separation from Devon and secured Objective 1 – now Convergence – status than it had in the decades before, when it followed the 'Devonwall' agenda"...
In a personal note to Andrew George MP, the Minister for Employment Relations, Consumer and Postal Affairs in the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, Ed Davey MP, congratulated him for leading the Parliamentary campaign for a Supermarket Watchdog.
The Minister said: “Thank you for all your work on this – I’m not sure this would have happened without your determined campaigning over many years.”
Informed choice on cloned animals
05.08.2010 Commenting on news that the offspring of a cloned cow had entered the food chain in the UK, the Liberal Democrat Rural Affairs Parliamentary Team leader, Andrew George MP, commented:
"I do not believe that there is any risk to human health. However, the public deserve reassurance that there is full traceability. Consumers have a right to informed choice when purchasing their food. For a variety of reasons, consumers will naturally wish to know where their food comes from and how it has been produced."
George calls for "choice not compulsion"
05.08.2010 Responding to the Prime Minister's recent statement that 'council' house tenants should have their rights restricted, local MP, Andrew George, is calling on the Government to give those in greatest housing need more rather than less choice.
03.08.2010 Local MP and Chairman of the Grocery Market Action Group, Andrew George, welcomes an announcement from the Business Secretary, Dr Vince Cable MP, that the Government will press ahead with the establishment of a new Supermarket Watchdog.
"This is very good news," Mr George said. "Over the years, supermarkets have become so powerful that they have been able to entirely dictate market conditions and to engage in unacceptable abuse of that power.
"This will affect ten supermarket chains. If they have nothing to hide then they will have nothing to fear."
George calls for Government to give more powers
27.07.2010 Following last weekend's Cornish Constitutional Convention Conference local MP, Andrew George, is calling on his fellow political leaders to come together with a demand for more powers to be handed to Cornwall from central Government.
Mr George believes that the Conference, at which he was a key speaker, brought together many new ideas to take advantage of the opportunities the Government has created as a result of the abolition of a number of regional quangos.
27.07.2010 Last night Andrew George MP voted against the Coalition Government on the Academies Bill - which intends to increase the number of free academy schools, detached from local education authority control and to create the opportunity for new "free" schools.
Mr George had expressed his concern...
23.07.2010 Andrew George MP will join the celebrations in Truro on Saturday 24th July 2010 to mark the 10th anniversary of the Cornish Constitutional Convention.
A mini conference will be staged at County Hall commencing at 10am to celebrate the anniversary. Mr George (who has been Vice Chair of the Convention since it was established) will address delegates at 10.40am. The Cornish Constitutional Convention was formed in November 2000 with the objective of establishing a devolved Assembly for Cornwall. The aim of the Convention is to establish a form of modern governance which strengthens Cornwall and its role in the affairs of the country...
23.07.2010 Commenting on the further announcement of a Coalition Government agreement to allow local communities to make planning decisions for affordable homes, local MP, Andrew George, said that the plan would only work if the development land released by the initiative was affordable.
22.07.2010 The MP for West Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, Andrew George, questioned his Liberal Democrat colleague and Bus Minister, Norman Baker MP, in the Commons today about the future of the Bus Service Operators Grant (BSOG) this morning.
There are concerns amongst operators of buses, particularly in rural areas where the sustainability of the service is marginal, that this autumn's budget cuts might include a significant reduction...
22.07.2010 Commenting on the publication this morning of the Independent Reconfiguration Panel’s report on the Reconfiguration of the Upper Gastro-Intestinal Cancer Surgical Service in the South West Peninsula, Andrew George MP said that patient groups would be left with a ‘bitter taste in their mouths’. “This," he said, "was only a gentle rap on the wrist for the Primary Care Trust"...
16.07.2010 A Defence Minister has assured local MP, Andrew George, that he will be kept fully informed regarding the future functionality of the Search and Rescue Service at RNAS Culdrose. Last month, the Government announced that the £6 billion contract with Soteria for the future provision of Search and Rescue, including the replacement of the 771 Squadron at RNAS Culdrose, had been suspended. However, Mr George received reassurance that the service itself would not be jeopardised. He recently questioned the Ministry of Defence...
16.07.2010 Local MP Andrew George has welcomed the news that a local company has been given the go-ahead for grant funding after fears that it would lose out on vital European Convergence aid. Spiral Construction Ltd, a specialist staircase manufacturer based in Helston, had received verbal approval for a grant under ERDF Convergence but the offer letter was withheld when an apparent freeze was placed on Convergence projects in Cornwall...
15.07.2010 At approximately 11:45am today Andrew George MP took part in Business Questions in Parliament to ask the Leader of the House of Commons to call on Ministers to address concerns that essential European Convergence Funding has been halted for Cornwall...
14.07.2010 Cornish MPs have asked the Business Secretary the Rt. Hon. Dr. Vince Cable MP to intervene to restore the European Regional Aid which had been suspended this week.
Local MPs Andrew George (St Ives), Stephen Gilbert (St Austell & Newquay), and Dan Rogerson (North Cornwall) have asked Business Secretary Vince Cable MP to intervene to make sure that projects which do not require UK public sector aid to be given the go ahead and for those which do need UK public aid to be offered guarantees about their future...
14.07.2010 Andrew George protested his concern about the proposed 2½% VAT increase last night by tabling a series of amendments and refusing to support the Government in any of the six divisions. Mr George questioned the Government on the impact VAT would have on low and middle income families, charities, rural travellers, businesses, the construction industry and the economy in general...
13.07.2010 Andrew George MP has spoken to both Business and Treasury Ministers regarding concerns that the Economic Aid Budget which supports the European Regional Development Programme in Cornwall has been cut from next year.
If true, this would cut hundreds of millions of pounds of investment from projects such as the Broadband roll-out, the next phase of the University of Cornwall, the Wave Hub Project and the Isles of Scilly ferry link...
13.07.2010 Following yesterday’s announcement that the Government would remove all existing administrative tiers of health management from the health service, abolishing the Strategic Health Authority and the PCT – Andrew George will call upon local GPs to work with the local community in the future planning and shaping of hospitals and health services. Mr George raised questions in the House of Commons yesterday questioning the Health Secretary – Rt. Hon Andrew Lansley MP – about the plans...
12.07.2010 In this afternoon’s Health Questions session in Parliament St Ives Andrew George MP asked an important question to the Secretary of State for Health the Rt Honourable Andrew Lansley MP. During the debate on the new Government White Paper...
George – Priorities for the week
1. Finance Bill - Committee Stage - Amendments
Andrew George MP has proposed a number of amendments to the Committee Stage of the Finance Bill which will be debated today, tomorrow and Thursday.
Whilst welcoming many aspects of the budget (the increase in personal allowance, the improvement in State Pension, protection for lower paid public sector workers, closing of Capital Gains Tax loopholes, the introduction of banking levy, etc) he has expressed concern about the potential impact of a rise in VAT upon lower and middle income families and has proposed alternative methods of restoring the public finances through securing tax from those more able to afford it.
2. Environment Team Lead of the Liberal Democrats
Andrew George will commence his first full week as Team Leader for the Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Party across both the Department for Energy and Climate Change and the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. He will therefore work closely with the Secretary of State in the DECC – Rt. Hon Chris Huhne MP – and fellow Parliamentary Team members from the House of Commons and the House of Lords. The Liberal Democrat Team will track and monitor Government activities across both departments and seek to maintain and promote Liberal Democrat policies and proposals both within the Coalition Government and across Parliament.
3. Health Select Committee
Mr George, who is a new member of the Commons Health Select Committee, will meet his fellow Select Committee members this week as they set out their programme for the rest of the coming year.
This will be the first time that Select Committees have come together since they have been given more power and freedom from Government and Whips Office interference! Mr George is keen that the Select Committee should monitor Government's proposals to loosen powers from Primary Care Trusts and hand them to GPs. There are a number of other health matters which significantly affect Cornwall and which he hopes will be thoroughly scrutinised by the Select Committee in the coming months.
09.07.2010 Local MP, Andrew George, who is also a member of the new Health Select Committee in Parliament, will caution the Health Secretary against transferring too much power to GPs and therefore weakening the influence of local communities and their representatives.
Mr George has supported the Coalition Government's commitment to "stop the top-down reorganisations of the NHS which have got in the way of patient care" and the commitment to "a stronger voice for patients locally through directly elected individuals on the Boards of their local Primary Care Trust. The remainder of the PCT's Board will be appointed by the relevant local authority".
However, in the Health White Paper to be published next week Mr George has expressed concern...
30.06.2010 Andrew George MP has issued the following statement to help those who are trying to follow the debate on the Budget proposal to increase VAT by 2½% in 2011: “Monday night’s votes (on the seven Budget resolutions) were not critical as far as the VAT rise goes. It was a procedural measure which passed Budget resolutions into the Finance Bill...It is very important that this significant measure is subjected to proper and calm scrutiny in the coming weeks...”
29.06.2010 Local MP, Andrew George, gave a ‘fair wind’ to the Government’s Budget proposals in the Commons last night but will continue to press the Government to justify its proposed VAT increase.
The Chancellor, in introducing the Budget last week, said that “the richest would pay the most and the vulnerable would be protected”. However, Mr George has queried whether the VAT increase would protect vulnerable families, rural travellers, charities and small businesses. Mr George had introduced an amendment which called upon the Government to publish impact assessments on its VAT increase...
28.06.2010 Local MP, Andrew George, has tabled an amendment to the Budget resolutions which will be debated this afternoon in the House of Commons. Mr George and three of his Liberal Democrat Parliamentary colleagues have called upon Treasury Ministers to undertake an impact assessment of the proposed 2½% VAT rise before it is implemented in January.
Mr George, who tabled the Motion on Thursday, has already been in touch with his Liberal Democrat Parliamentary colleagues prior to the debate this afternoon, and is seeking concessions from Government before the final implementation of the VAT rise is implemented...
George to lead Commons debate for fair health funding
21.06.2010 West Cornwall MP, Andrew George, will lead a debate in Parliament tomorrow, Tuesday 22nd June 2010, and call on Health Ministers to give Cornwall its £56 million shortfall. This is the amount which the Government admits it underfunds Cornwall each year.
Mr George and his Parliamentary colleagues successfully campaigned to persuade the previous Government to put right a funding formula which was originally brought in by the Conservatives in the 1980s. When the formula was eventually changed last year, it showed that Cornwall had been underfunded by £56 million per annum.
However, the Government could not restore all of that funding in one go. Money had to be found by taking away from other overfunded health authorities – mainly in the wealthy south east.
Mr George said, “The Conservatives created a system of endemic underfunding. Now they in Coalition can put this right. While Cornwall is underfunded its health services remain overstretched. The results of poor funding mean that hospitals face intense pressures. Cornwall has one of the lowest levels of NHS dentistry in the country. Its mental health services are struggling. Ambulance response times are amongst the worst in the country and hospitals continue to face intense pressure across most specialties.
“We are only asking for health services which other parts of the country already take for granted. Securing fair funding is an important first step.”
18.06.2010 Commenting on the Government’s announcement that the £6bn contract with Soteria for the future provision of Search & Rescue – including the replacement of the 771 Squadron at RNAS Culdrose – has been suspended, local MP, Andrew George, said that he has already spoken to Government Ministers and obtained reassurance that the Search & Rescue service itself will not be jeopardised.
17.06.2010 The MP for the West Cornwall and Isles of Scilly constituency of St Ives, Andrew George, pressed the Transport Secretary, Rt. Hon Philip Hammond MP, in the House of Commons this morning to acknowledge the importance of the Isles of Scilly ferry link project and not to withdraw funding...
17.06.2010 Local MP, Andrew George, has secured a Commons debate next week to push for an improvement in the allocation of health funding to Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly...
Following a lengthy campaign, Mr George and his Liberal Democrat Parliamentary colleagues successfully persuaded the Government to revise the funding formula. This identified that Cornwall had been under funded by £56 million per annum.
17.06.2010 West Cornwall MP, Andrew George, welcomed the Health Secretary’s announcement today of details of the internal inquiry into the circumstances surrounding the suspension and ultimate sacking of former Royal Cornwall Hospitals Trust Chief Executive, John Watkinson.
15.06.2010 Cornwall’s Liberal Democrat MPs welcomed the Coalition Government’s positive responses to calls for a fair deal for local water rate payers, after a Commons debate last night.
The debate on ‘Water Bills in the South West’ was attended by local Liberal Democrat MPs Dan Rogerson (for North Cornwall) Stephen Gilbert (St Austell and Newquay) and Andrew George (St. Ives)...
14.06.2010 Local MP, Andrew George, will speak at a House of Commons event this afternoon where he will call on the Government to make sure that housing need is given the highest priority.
The event organised by the National Housing Federation (the national grouping of housing associations) has been given much publicity over the weekend as the Federation has warned the Government that its combination of financial cutbacks and changes to the planning system could be “catastrophic” for those seeking affordable homes...
14.06.2010 Local MP, Andrew George, had already spoken to Transport Ministers emphasising the importance and uniqueness of the Isles of Scilly Ferry Link prior to the Transport Secretary’s announced funding review on Friday.
George calls for 'poverty trap' review
14.06.2010 Speaking in the Commons today, local MP, Andrew George, will call on Social Security Ministers to look carefully at the impact of benefits on those caught in the poverty trap.
Mr George argues that in areas of low income, like his own constituency of West Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, thousands of families remain caught in a poverty trap if they secure a job or a pay increase. Housing benefit can be withdrawn at the rate of 65 pence in every pound earned. The combined effect with council tax benefit, the withdrawal can be 85 pence in the pound.
“Many families desperate for work or for better pay complain that there’s no incentive," Mr George said. “Taking home just 15 pence of every new pound you earn is hardly encouraging”.
14.06.2010 Andrew George MP is calling for the contribution of the many thousands of carers in his West Cornwall and Isles of Scilly constituency of St Ives to be recognised after learning that more than three-quarters (76%) of people looking after an ill, frail or disabled loved one do not have a life outside of their caring role...
MP and Minister begin work on affordable housing
09.06.2010 Following a Commons debate last night, the MP for the West Cornwall and Isles of Scilly constituency of St Ives, Andrew George, and the new Housing Minister, Andrew Stunell MP, agreed to undertake further work on a range of housing policies to address local housing need.
During the debate last night, Mr George raised a series of questions about the role of planning, mortgage finance, regulation of second home ownership, the application of Capital Gains Taxation and the regulation of the private rented sector amongst other matters.
The Minister has agreed to meet Mr George to take forward many of the initiatives raised.
07.06.2010 The MP for the West Cornwall and Isles of Scilly constituency of St Ives, Andrew George, will lead a debate in the House of Commons tomorrow evening, Tuesday 8th June 2010, to raise questions about the new Coalition Government’s approach to meeting local housing need.
Mr George, who has successfully campaigned for changes in previous Government policy – in particular on council tax increases for second homes – says that he will be using this first debate as an opportunity to probe and encourage the Government on a range of housing policies.
MP to speak at meeting of
Friends of St Mary's Haven Day Centre
07.06.2010 Local MP, Andrew George, will attend a public meeting called by the Friends of St Mary’s Haven Day Centre in Penzance this evening.
The meeting which commences at 7 pm will be held in Committee Room 1 of the Council offices, St Clare, Penzance and has been called by “Friends” co-ordinator, Mr Bernard Condon.
Mr George, who has supported efforts to rescue the Day Centre – which was closed by its Trustees on 26th February this year – is expected to be asked to support the former Day Centre’s supporters request for a further investigation/complaint to the Charity Commission, and to investigate an alternative method of re-establishing the Day Centre.
Constituency postbag: Fairness in housing
Andrew George MP has written an article in this month's House Magazine, the in-house journal of the House of Commons, about housing issues as they affect people in West Cornwall. To read the article in full, click here.
20.05.2010 This morning the Liberal Democrat-Conservative Coalition published its Programme for Government with good news for local communities in Cornwall.
Just days after Cornwall’s Liberal Democrat MPs launched their own Programme for Cornwall, today’s document outlines the Coalition’s plans for government over the next five years. The Liberal Democrat MPs are pleased that many of the policies they had been campaigning for are now incorporated in the Coalition’s agreement.
Local MP first
to take Oath in Cornish
19.05.2010 St Ives MP Andrew George will be the first MP in this Parliament to give the Oath of Allegiance in Cornish.
The Oath is taken as part of the process of swearing-in MPs. Mr George secured the right of Cornwall’s MPs to take the Oath of Allegiance in Cornish before the last Parliament and will this year, as previously, be the first MP to do so this afternoon.
New Programme for Cornwall
17.05.2010 Cornwall’s Liberal Democrat MPs are calling for cross party and cross community support for a new five year programme for Cornwall. They are launching an initial checklist of policy objectives in advance of the Government’s Queen’s Speech next week, but wish to consult more widely on the programme and how it should develop over the five years of the fixed term of the Liberal Democrat/Conservative Government.
Dan Rogerson, Stephen Gilbert and Andrew George are calling for Cornwall to be ahead of the queue for investment in renewable technology – to be ahead of the game on green policy and to be acknowledged as the “Green Peninsula” within the United Kingdom...
17.05.2010 West Cornwall MP, Andrew George, welcomed news that the new Health Secretary had ordered an investigation into the sacking of the former Royal Cornwall Hospitals Trust Chief Executive, John Watkinson, in 2008. Mr George and his Parliamentary colleagues had called for an inquiry.
However, Mr George has issued a caution to the Health Secretary – Rt. Hon Andrew Lansley MP – that such an investigation should not be undertaken by Departmental officials who could not be seen as unassociated with Mr Watkinson’s original suspension...
Liberal Democrats in Government
12.05.2010 Following the announcement of the Liberal Democrat and Conservative Coalition Government last night and the meeting of the Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Party in Westminster, the MP for West Cornwall and Isles of Scilly constituency of St Ives, Andrew George, said:
“The electorate had given MPs a clear mandate. One which required them to work together. There was no overall winner of the General Election.
“Liberal Democrats have always argued for consensus politics. In any case, it is the inevitable consequence of electoral reform. So this is consensus politics in practice.
“The last thing the country needs right now is unstable Government followed by another General Election in the autumn. I believe that the agreement reached is not only a good one for the Liberal Democrats – as the statement to be released later this morning will show – 80% of the policy commitments of the new Government are items from the Liberal Democrat rather than Conservative manifesto.
“Personally, I had hoped for an alignment of the centre left. However, the Labour Party were very clearly not prepared to do any kind of deal. They were not prepared to compromise. They wanted to go into opposition.
“I am aware that whichever way these negotiations went many local electors would be unhappy. I am keen to speak to as many people as possible about the challenges we faced, the conundrums we had to overcome in negotiation and the justification of having to come to a deal which, above all, put the national interest first.
“I will be holding public meetings in the coming months and am keen to hear from all who have an opinion on the matter. My Parliamentary colleagues and I will be releasing a joint statement later in the day setting out our ambitions for Cornwall in the new Government.”
11.05.2010 Andrew George MP is calling for an independent inquiry into the suspension and sacking of John Watkinson, former Chief Executive of the Royal Cornwall Hospitals Trust. Last week, Mr Watkinson won his case that he was unfairly dismissed from his post. The Employment Tribunal ruled that he was sacked following the Trust’s concerns about his stance on the controversial transfer of specialist cancer services out of the county...
31.03.2010 Local MP, Andrew George, will meet Tony Jones – the Managing Director of British International Helicopters – at the Heliport this morning before flying out to the Isles of Scilly with BIH.
Mr George has been in discussions with BIH over a number of months since it first emerged that the company had made its site available for sale as a future development for out of town retail.
29.03.2010 St Ives MP Andrew George will tomorrow lead the Liberal Democrat involvement in the Committee Stage of the Grocery Market Ombudsmen Bill. The Private Members’ Bill calls on Government to create a Supermarket Ombudsman who would act to protect the rights and interests of suppliers and shoppers as recommended in a report by the Government’s own competition watchdog the Competition Commission.