LAST week I was out campaigning in support of Labour candidates in the local elections in Plymouth and attending one of the vote counts here in Cornwall. As the election results came in and the scale of the Labour victories became clear, there was one consistent message: people across the country are demanding change.

The need for change can easily be seen here in South East Cornwall. From inadequate housing and healthcare provision, to rising water bills for increasingly poor service, the Conservative government has proven itself to be incapable of delivering on the basic services we need.

If elected, my priority would be to get the basics right because they provide the strong foundations upon which we can strengthen our communities and create more opportunities for people here to achieve greater economic prosperity. 

Take our waters as an example. From the fishing industry to tourism and hospitality our ocean and beaches are essential for our economy and for our well-being. It is sickening that the latest figures show the number of bathing waters in England receiving a classification of “poor” are at their highest since 2015. Last year Conservative MPs, including the current MP for South East Cornwall, had a chance to change this, but they voted against a Labour amendment to the Environment Bill that would have put an end date on water companies spilling sewage into our rivers and seas.

Labour has a plan to hold water companies to account, to stop the spills and protect customers and the environment. I think it is shocking that, despite being responsible for this situation, water companies have awarded their bosses more than £25-million in bonuses and incentives since the last election as services continue to decline. 

In comparison, if elected, Labour will introduce automatic fines for discharges and impose a legally binding target to end 90% of discharges by 2030. We will ensure that failure to improve services is paid from dividends, not from increased customer bills, and the bosses who persistently break the rules will face personal fines. 

As with so many issues, the Conservatives have been too slow to react and allowed problems to escalate. Families here cannot be expected to front the bill for a lack of timely action by those currently in charge.

Please contact me with any issues or concerns that you have and I would welcome the chance to hear from you. My email address is [email protected] or follow me on twitter/x @annagelderd

Anna Gelderd, the Labour Party’s parliamentary candidate for South East Cornwall