Thursday, 23 April 2015

Cameron pledges public money for Stadium. What does Scott Mann say?

David Cameron has today promised public money to fund a Stadium for Cornwall. Speaking to Tamsin Melville on BBC Radio Cornwall, he said:

"If it takes some extra money, I'd make that money available"

On the one hand this is a pretty blatant election bribe. Neither Mr Cameron nor anyone else in the Conservative Party has said anything like this before. Yet he happens to be able to come up with this very specific commitment during a visit to West Cornwall. Hmm.

On the other hand, where does this leave North Cornwall Conservative candidate Scott Mann? Scott famously resigned 'on a point of principle' as Deputy Leader of the Conservative Group when it was proposed to put public money behind the stadium. Is he happy that Mr Cameron should now be backing such spending?

To be clear, the principle of a stadium for Cornwall is one which the vast majority of people in Cornwall (myself included) support. It has been given planning permission and those behind the scheme have continually said that they will find the money privately. I wish them the very best of luck. But, for all of its benefits, any public money which goes into a stadium is money which is not available for spending on nurses, caring for vulnerable people, libraries, roads or whatever.

The current backlog of maintenance for Cornwall's leisure centres is up to £15 million. The total cost of a stadium - up to £15 million. If that amount of money is available from the public purse, then I would argue that it should be spent on the leisure facilities that truly benefit the whole of Cornwall.

General Election Hustings in Launceston

If you want a chance to quiz the candidates standing in North Cornwall in the general election, there will be a hustings event at Central Methodist Church in Launceston next Tuesday- 28th April at 7pm

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

The Tory plan to close Launceston police station?

Launceston Police Station is under threat. And the Conservatives - whose cuts have put it at risk but could still save it - are refusing to come to the rescue.

The front counter service has already gone. So local people have to rely on the very inconsistent 101 telephone service where they could be hanging on for 30 minutes or more. Before the front counter was closed, the Conservative Police Commissioner - Tony Hogg - was warned about the failings of his proposed alternative, but he went ahead anyway.

The next step has been to propose to remove the custody suite from the station. This is a very modern facility which has had a lot of money spent on it. It serves a wide area of Cornwall and Devon. But the force is now formally proposing to close it.

Why is this happening? The savings are being forced through by Conservative Home Secretary Theresa May. She has been clear that her party’s agenda is for massive savings across the public sector, and rural police are not exempt. So Devon and Cornwall police have to take their hit.

But it is also down to another Conservative politician - Tony Hogg the police and crime commissioner. It is he who sets the strategic direction of the force and decides where the money is spent. He could save rural policing and facilities such as Launceston’s. But he is refusing to do so.

The gradual run down of Launceston Police Station leads me to one question - is the complete closure of our police station next on the Conservative agenda?

When she was on a recent electioneering trip to North Cornwall, Theresa May was asked about the run down of Launceston police station. She said that “we have to rationalise our resources”. Alongside her at the time was local tory candidate Scott Mann who said nothing to oppose the cuts.

So - Theresa May, Tony Hogg and Scott Mann appear to have a plan to close down rural police stations. Can we trust them with our vote on May 7th?