I am looking forward to a busy first week back after the conference recess with many meetings with colleagues in the diary.
The Camelford bypass was included in the redirection of funds from HS2 and I will be seeking further details on how this will be distributed to the project. The strategic case for the road is well known the business case needs to be worked up thoroughly now by Cornwall Council.
The council members I’ve spoken to in North Cornwall are very supportive of our case. We now want Cornwall Council’s officers to make the best business case it can for the people of Camelford.
In the coming weeks, the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill return to the House. It will introduce a new discretionary council tax premium of up to 100 per cent on second homes.
I recognise that high levels of second homeownership concentrated in a single area can have a negative effect on parts of North Cornwall. Second homes are already liable for council tax, subject to any discounts which the council may apply locally.
The requirement for local authorities to offer a discount on second homes was removed by the Government in 2013, enabling them to charge the full rate of council tax. This is the case irrespective of whether they are occupied or not.
Many people rely on bus services across North Cornwall, to get to work or to see family and friends. That is why the Conservative Government has invested significantly in bus services since 2020, including an extra £1,969,162 for services across Cornwall. This funding will protect essential services and enhance transport connections, supporting people to get where they need to go with public transport they can rely on.
The investment comes from the £80-million Bus Services Improvement Plan 2024/25 fund, of which there have been three rounds – building on the £80 million invested in 2023/24 and £1 billion invested in 2022. It comes on top of a further £140 million announced in May from the extension of the Bus Service Operators Grant (BSOG), taking the total to continue supporting and protecting bus services across England to £300 million into 2025.
To help people with the cost of living and save on everyday travel costs, the Conservative Government have also invested £200 million to extend the bus fare cap, with single bus tickets capped at £2 outside London until the end of October 2023 and then at £2.50 until November 30, 2024.
The £2 fare cap has cut travel costs, particularly in rural areas, where buses are crucial for so many people to get around, with the average fare dropping by 10.8 per cent in rural and non-metropolitan parts of England.