A couple of weeks ago in the column I said how disappointed I was that the Lloyds bank was closing in Saltash but that Link were setting up a banking hub in the town to give some services.
Unfortunately Callington is facing the same situation and I have now agreed to meet with Link to see if a solution can be found for this town too. I will update readers once I have met with them later this month.
Also in Callington I am pleased that the new Multi-Use Games Area is underway at the Launceston Road Recreation Ground. I was in the park a couple of weeks ago and it was good to see the works being undertaken.
I was pleased to hear from the Health Secretary last week that a new Community Diagnostic Centre is coming to Cornwall and one to Devon. The centres aim to achieve earlier diagnoses for patients through easier, faster, and more direct access to the full range of diagnostic tests needed to understand patients’ symptoms including breathlessness, cancer, ophthalmology. Whilst the locations are not in South East Cornwall this additional capacity will help reduce waiting times at already operating NHS services helping my constituents get the diagnostic services they need.
I was sad to hear about another serious accident take place on the A38 last week at Trerulefoot with the road being closed in both directions during the busiest time of the year. I have written to the Minister again stressing the need for safety improvements to this road in South East Cornwall as a matter of urgency.
Many people have said that the cost of living is affecting them and their families. This is what the government have told me they are focusing on:
• Showing progress on our promise to halve inflation by the end of the year, as our £94-billion support package remains in place. The rate of inflation is at 7.9 per cent, down from 10.1 per cent at the beginning of the year. Whilst we work on this promise, we have a £94 billion package of cost of living support in place, worth £3,300 on average per household.
• Supporting low-income households with cost of living payments, with some households receiving up to £1,350 of support. Building on the £1,200 of support received in 2022, millions of households will get up to £1,350 of government support in 2023-24: £900 for households on means-tested benefits being paid from April; £300 for pensioner households and £150 for disability benefit claimants.
• Uprating benefits and the State Pension in line with inflation, protecting the most vulnerable households. To protect the most vulnerable, benefits increased in line with inflation. More than ten million households in receipt of working-age and disability benefits will see an increase in their benefit payments. The average uplift for households Universal Credit will be around £600.15.
• Extending our Household Support Fund to over £2-billion, ensuring local authorities can support the most vulnerable families in their communities. We have provided the Household Support Fund with an additional £842-million to establish schemes that support vulnerable families. This brings the Fund to over £2-billion in value since its creation.
• Increasing the National Living Wage by 9.7 per cent, giving an average of £1,600 for two million low paid workers. On April 1, the National Living Wage increased by 9.7 per cent to £10.42 an hour for workers aged 23 and over. This represents an increase of over £1,600 to the annual earnings of a full-time worker on the NLW and is expected to benefit over two million low paid workers.