The war in Ukraine has taken centre stage in current affairs and I know that many constituents are very concerned about it. I have been monitoring the situation closely in Parliament and held many discussions with colleagues on the matter; MPs are also being comprehensively briefed by the Ministry of Defence. The UK is providing substantial support to the Ukrainian Government, including defensive weapon systems and military aid which is allowing Ukraine’s armed forces to hold off the Russian advance. Many of you have written to me asking me to support the establishment of a ‘no-fly zone’ in Ukraine. I appreciate and understand that people in North Cornwall are horrified by the scenes of bombardment and suffering but establishing a no-fly zone would inevitably bring us into armed conflict with Russia and this is an escalation that we must avoid.
I am very pleased that Westminster responded quickly to the humanitarian crisis, and we have launched our Homes for Ukraine scheme to build on the UK’s proud and long history of supporting people in need, as we continue to play a leading role in supporting the crisis caused by Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. Our country has a long and proud history of taking in people in need, supporting the most vulnerable during their darkest hour, and we are doing so again with the Homes for Ukraine scheme. Phase One of the scheme, which launched last week, saw 44,000 sponsors sign up in the first five hours, allows sponsors in the UK to nominate a named Ukrainian or a named Ukrainian family to stay with them – and in return they will receive £350 per month. The courage shown by the Ukrainian people in the face of the devastation caused by the invasion of their great country is nothing short of remarkable – I urge people in North Cornwall to consider becoming sponsors.
Bude Town Council has secured £48,000 in seed funding for the regeneration of the town centre from Cornwall Council. The funding will go towards planning and preparing for a bid to the upcoming Shared Prosperity Fund to regenerate Bude town centre. This investment in Bude is the start of a new approach being taken by Cornwall Council. The towns team in Bude, along with Cornwall and Town Councillors have been working up proposals for the triangle in Bude and wider regeneration packages. When the money starts to flow from the Shared Prosperity Fund, Bude will be well placed to access the wider fund. I am genuinely excited about what this will mean for Bude and the wider community. The replacement for the EU funding schemes will be more flexible and directed at local priorities for better outcomes. This is just the start and there are similar projects underway in the local area. I look forward to seeing what other bids North Cornwall communities will be putting forward and I will be happy to offer my support.