Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Andrew George's Private Members Bill

West Cornwall Lib Dem MP Andrew George came top of the ballot for a Private Members Bill last week. That allows him to propose a new piece of legislation and guarantees him some parliamentary time to give a chance of making it happen.

Andrew is asking people what they want to see him take forward. He has written a letter setting out how he has made his choice and what his remaining options are. If you want to have your say, please read the following and let him know:

Dear Friend,

A week may be "a long time in politics", but since my good fortune in coming top in the ballot for a Private Members' Bill last Thursday, this Harold Wilson's adage feels especially true...

Heading the list of Private Members' Bills is the MPs equivalent of winning the jackpot in the National Lottery. It is one of those great opportunities that can only come along once in a political lifetime.

But, you can only have one Bill not a whole raft of legislation in your own Queen’s Speech. As such, I want the Bill to reflect the priorities of the constituency and, I hope, will be crafted to benefit not just Cornwall and Scilly but the whole country.

So, since my name came out of the hat at the end of last week, I have been sifting through scores of policy proposals.

I’ve also discovered that I have thousands of new ‘friends’, all beating a path to my door, with new plans and proposals.

However, I have resisted the temptation to take someone else’s already carefully drafted ‘off the peg’ Bill – to support Mesothelioma sufferers, a new Forestry Bill, a Nature Protection Bill, Electoral Reform proposals, the banning of Wild Animals in the Circus, a Food Security Bill, a bill to prevent parking on the pavements and many other proposals – worthy as they all are – and have narrowed my proposals to just three.  I am encouraging local people to help me decide. So, I would appreciate your comments and responses in the coming days.

They are:

An Affordable Homes Bill

To help meet the desperate need of local families for affordable homes.  It would introduce new tools:

A fund to support families trying to get on to the housing ladder – by helping them buy a ‘share’ in a new home of their own.

Combatting the ‘spare room subsidy’/‘bedroom tax’.  Poor families are as entitled to a stable family home as better off families.  I would limit the impact of the ‘bedroom tax’ to exclude those who have been living at an address for more than three years and also where disabled adaptations have been completed.

A new planning rule to restrict the number of second homes.

Powers of compulsory purchase for local authorities where developers ‘land bank’ to drive up prices or refuse to release land to meet the need for affordable homes.

A Cornish Assembly Bill

This would introduce new powers (subject to a Cornwall and Isles of Scilly referendum) - equivalent to the Welsh Assembly - which could be drawn down, over time it would build on the powers of Cornwall Council – and the Council of the Isles of Scilly – should the Islands choose to be involved in such devolution.

Health Care Standards Bill

This would strengthen safe standards in healthcare through:

A new mandatory safe staffing level on hospital wards; ‘never more than eight’ patients to each registered nurse (excluding the nurse in charge) on hospital wards.

Support for home care workers – a living wage, payment for travel time, travel reimbursement and the setting of minimum limits on the amount of time that home care workers are expected to complete tasks.

Extending NHS registered nurses into the community, including in private nursing homes where the NHS is paying for nursing care.

The Private Members' Bill gives me the opportunity to be Prime Minister for a day - so, what would you do? We only have a few days, I would appreciate your response by Wednesday 25th June.  Please let me know what you think.

I welcome your suggestions on your own preferred option from my shortlisted proposals.
All the best,
Andrew George MP
Kernow a'n West ha Syllan
West Cornwall and the Scillies
Kwartron Porthia
Constituency of St Ives
Tel:  01736 360020
Fax:  01736 332866

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