flora day photo

Helston’s MP for the past 18 years and current General Election candidate for the Liberal Democrats, Andrew George, has announced that he will put Helston’s Flora Day ahead of his attendance at the General Election Count, which happens on the same day at Carn Brea.

Mr George performs as St Piran in the early morning Hal-an-Tow pageant and dances the Midday Dance usually with his wife Jill and sometimes his daughter Morvah.

Having consulted the Council’s Returning Officer about the timings of the General Election Count, Mr George has decided to fulfil his commitments at Helston Flora Day before attending the Count.

Mr George said:  “I have never missed Flora Day.  It is the most important day in the local calendar – more important, in most peoples’ eyes, than even the General Election.  I agree and that’s why I’ll be spending a full day at Helston, though I may have to miss watching the 5pm dance.


“I’m very grateful to the Flora Day Committee for their forbearance whilst I have been seeking advice before making this decision.”

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“National Treasure”, Shirley Williams, to back Andrew George in Penzance tomorrow

Parliamentary candidate for St Ives Constituency, Mr Andrew George, will welcome a legendary former Education Secretary and national campaigner The Rt Honourable Baroness Shirley Williams of Crosby to Penzance tomorrow (20th of April) where she will back his re-election campaign.

Baroness Shirley Williams, similarly to Mr George is known for her independent mind and strong progressive views on war, UK’s nuclear deterrent and social justice. The 84 year old Baroness was one of the “rebels” (otherwise known as a “Gang of Four”) which left the Labour Party to set up the Social Democratic Party in 1981, alongside David Owen, Roy Jenkins and Bill Rodgers. She continues to play an active role in and outside of the UK’s political arena. From 2001 to 2004, she served as a Leader of the Liberal Democrats in the House of Lords, and from 2007 to 2010, as Adviser on Nuclear Proliferation to Prime Minister Gordon Brown. She currently serves as an active lawmaker in the House of Lords, is an Emeritus Board Member of the Nuclear Threat Initiative, and is a Public Service Professor of Electoral Politics Emerita in Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government among other roles.

She will arrive to Penzance at 13.00 where she will meet local supporters, after which she will have lunch at the Honey Pot. Around 14.30 she will meet the public in Penzance town centre.

Andrew George said, “It’s great to have Shirley’s support. She’s enormously admired for her remarkable campaigning skills and, energy and mental agility. She’s already a ‘National Treasure’ and, if you meet her, you can see why!”



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The Penzance Harbour Working Party yesterday (Thursday 26th March) held a roundtable meeting with key stakeholders to discuss the future of Penzance Harbour and seafront at St Clare, Penzance. The Harbour Working Group Party which was set up by Mr George a year ago, is chaired by former Truro and Penwith College Principal, Jonathan Burnett, with representatives from Cornwall Council ,including Cllr Jim McKenna; Penzance TKeith Bell.

There has been strong support for the offshore breakwater study, both from the strong public response to Penzance Neighbourhood Plan, and in response to Andrew George’s neighbourhood survey on the issue, which showed more than 90% of local people backed the offshore breakwater as a key component of the regeneration of the Penzance Harbour area.  

The Harbour Working Party, which meets regularly in Mr George’s office, is now calling on Penzance Harbour and seafront users, stakeholders, mariners and local residents to bring forward their comments, suggeown Council including the Mayor of Penzance, David Nebesnuick; Cornwall’s Harbourmaster, Andy Brigden; and Neighbourhood Plan representative  stions and concerns; and to let them know what their top priorities are for the Penzance Harbour area.

Mr George said, “There will be many different people with different perspectives and priorities on the future of Penzance Harbour and seafront.  Each of these need to be taken into account.  If we get this right we could see massive investment in a marina and the development of leisure activities, a sound basis to attract cruise ships, the opportunity to generate renewable energy and the build up of a sandy beach on the seafront.


 “We are particularly interested in discovering which of the many harbour and seafront assets local people see as the highest priority for protection; and which provide the greatest assets for future economic regeneration.  I am pleased that the working party is making good progress.  We all look forward to a constructive engagement as this exciting plan takes its first important step forward”.

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Brian May flew in to Penzance today to support Parliamentary candidate for the West Cornwall and Isles of Scilly constituency of St Ives, Andrew George. Dr May arrived at Penzance Cricket Ground, where a rally was held for Mr George’s campaign, before both Dr May and Mr George met with students at Penwith College nearby.


Dr May has been a long-standing supporter of Mr George and his work on social justice, the NHS, tax-dodging, and the environment, and both have been outspoken critics of the Government’s badger cull.


Dr May has set up a campaign organisation, ‘Common Decency’, to support politicians and candidates who he believes stand up strongly against vested interests, for social justice and are not afraid to rebel against their Party whips. Mr George has been dubbed the “Most Independent Minded MP” due to his rebellious nature in Parliament and his tendency to work with MPs from both the Green and Labour Party on topics such as the NHS, tax-dodging and the environment.


Dr May said, “I have come here today to offer my support to a fine local candidate – Mr Andrew George. He, to me, represents what my campaign with ‘Common Decency’ stands for. He is a man of integrity, hard work and transparency. A vote for Andrew is a vote for ‘Common Decency’ for St Ives”



Says Andrew George: “It was fantastic to welcome Brian to the constituency. Common Decency is a brilliant campaign.  Political Parties give the electorate a sense of the background colour of the candidate but we need to get rid of tribalism and work together for the common good.”

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A number of constituents have asked me how I voted on Trident renewal last week (20/1/2015). I voted for the motion – “That this House believes that Trident should NOT be renewed” ( ). Both the Tories and Labour voted in favour of renewing Trident. I believe there are better ways of spending up to £100 billion of public money. Trident contributes nothing to the defence of the UK against most of its primary threats and I cannot envisage any circumstances in which we could ever justify using it.


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National nurse leader Dr Peter Carter and local NHS chief Dr Colin Philip will join local MP Andrew George at a public meeting to present their visions for the future of the NHS.


The meeting will take place on Friday 20th February 2015, 7pm, at the lecture theatre of Penwith College, St Clare Street, Penzance, TR18 2SA.


Mr George, who is also a leading NHS campaigner and a member of the powerful House of Commons Health Select Committee, has called on Dr Carter and Dr Philip to join him to discuss national and local challenges and opportunities in the NHS.  They will be joined by other local clinicians, managers and health campaigners.


At a national level Mr George has: led campaigns on safe nurse staffing on hospital wards with the Safe Staffing Alliance; supported the campaign for fair pay, against the Government’s 1% pay rise; campaigned against the Government’s massive reorganisation of the NHS, and putting patients before profits; has fought against the “race to the bottom” of home care, and for better integration of health and social care.


Locally, he has led the campaign for better out of hours GP cover, encouraged local health commissioners to integrate health services and is pushing Cornwall Council and NHS Kernow to pursue plans to join management and budget regimes.  He has also fought plans to cut community hospital beds – including at Poltair Hospital – and to support NHS staff.


“The NHS has gone through the most challenging of reorganisations, staff morale has also been challenged by pay freezes, changes in conditions and the increasing pressure of work.


“Withholding a pay rise, understaffing on wards, increasing parking and registration fees for nurses and Tory plans to remove anti-social hours pay for nurses are all contributing increasingly difficult conditions on hospital wards. We rely on nurses and carers as the backbone of the NHS, and cuts to provision are contributing to the NHS crisis we are seeing.


“I’m pleased that Peter Carter has agreed to visit to give us a national perspective and that Colin Philip has made himself available to explain what NHS Kernow plans are and to answer questions.”


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Amongst other things, West Cornwall MP, Andrew George, will be visiting/attending/speaking at the following events in the week commencing 26th January 2015 (as part of his public diary):


Monday 26th January:

2pm: Visit to Tate St Ives to discuss their Coastal Communities funding award.


Tuesday 27th January:

1pm: Launch of APPG on Motor Neurone Disease report into access to communication equipment for people with MND.


2pm: Health Select Committee: Inquiry into end of life care.


4pm: South West Rail APPG meeting.


5pm: Holocaust Memorial Day Commemorative event.


6pm: Action Cerebral Palsy launch of Parliamentary inquiry report.


Wednesday 28th January:

12.45pm: Andrew George will be a panel member for a Centre for Public Scrutiny seminar for local councillors on the work of Parliamentary Select Committees.


4pm: Launch of RMT maritime manifesto event.


Friday 29th January:

12pm: Meeting with Superintendent Keith Dickson at the Fisherman’s Mission, Newlyn.


4pm: Advice surgery, Penzance.


6.30pm: St Keverne Parish Hall public meeting regarding Dean Quarry.

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Andrew George - John Daniel Centre 1 Andrew George - John Daniel Centre 2

On Friday 23rd January local MP, Andrew George, visited the John Daniel Centre in Penzance to see the work of Active Plus.  Active Plus is a social enterprise that uses the skills of ex-service personnel with PTSD to motivate, increase communication skills, motivation and confidence to help people back into work following health problems.


Mr George said, “I met some real stars.  It must be one of the hardest challenges.  You’ve been very ill and you want to get back to work.  But you don’t how and you’ve lost your confidence.


“Everyone I met demonstrated remarkable grit and determination.  They all deserve rich praise.  Well Done”.


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Andrew George - Tess Blazey

Local MP Andrew George is urging regulators to listen closely to local fears about plans to turn Dean Quarry at St Keverne to what they believe will be a “super quarry”.




Mr George had met with representatives of the Swansea Bay tidal lagoon project last year but had not been informed about the potential scale of their development and extraction proposals.  It has recently emerged that the company, which has recently secured ownership of the quarry from Cemex, plans to use existing mineral rights to expand extraction to a level much higher than when it was last in operation before it closed in 2008.  They also plan to build a 600m tidal breakwater and two extensive jetties to take barges which will move rock from St Keverne to build the tidal lagoon in Swansea Bay.




Mr George met Tess Blazey from Tidal Lagoon at his office in Penzance on Friday 23rd January 2015 and will be joining the public at an open meeting at St Keverne Parish Hall next Friday evening (30th January 2015) after his Penzance casework surgery is completed.




In the meantime, Mr George has gone back to the company with further questions and highlighted concerns to the Marine Management Organisation which is responsible for determining the application for the breakwater and jetties, Cornwall Council’s mineral planning authority, the Environment Agency and Natural England.




Mr George said, “Whilst I support the development of renewable energy projects like that at Swansea Bay, the sheer scale of what may happen at Dean Quarry is unacceptable and could have a significant impact on the local community.  I have urged the company to look again at the pace and scale of what they plan to do.”




The last operation at Dean Quarry is said to have extracted up to 200,000 tonnes of rock per annum with half of this being removed by road and the other half by sea.  The Tidal Lagoon project indicate that they hope to extract three and a half times that amount per annum, with all of it being transported by barges directly to the Swansea Bay site.  They advise that the former jetty at Dean Quarry is insufficient and that two additional jetties will be necessary and an extensive breakwater is also needed to provide weather protection once barges are being loaded.




Mr George anticipates that his Penzance casework surgery will finish shortly after 6pm on Friday 30th January and that he will go directly to St Keverne Parish Hall to join the public meeting as soon as he is able to.




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West Cornwall MP, Andrew George, has visited Penwith College to call for free bus passes for 16-25 year olds.  Mr George met with students at Penwith College on Friday 25th January 2015 to discuss the challenges they face with rural transport.  Mr George is calling for the introduction of statutory concessionary travel for 16-25 year olds in rural areas, administered using an electronic Oyster-style travel card.  Participating bus and rail services would be assisted with the introduction of the technology.

Local authorities would administer what would be a Government funded scheme which could either offer a percentage discount beyond that already offered to young people or a completely free service (within a certain limited budget but which would allow young people to top up their travel card to extend its use.).

Mr George said, “I believe it is much harder being young these days than it has been in living memory.  For all the benefit of modern day gadgets and bling, the reality of the limited job and housing opportunities and the pressure of a more materialistic world our younger people find themselves at a disadvantage to their predecessors.  And that’s quite apart from the added costs of going on to further and higher education – policies I’ve voted against!

“In rural areas like ours, young people have the double disadvantage of finding themselves more remote from their friends, college and their work place than their metropolitan counterparts.  The costs of going out, getting to work or to college is usually more than double that of young people in urban areas.  The options and choices are much more restricted too.  That’s why I’m urging the Government to introduce a new young person’s travel card – equivalent to the pensioner’s bus pass

Rural Travel


It is much harder being young these days than it has been in living memory.  For all the benefits of modern day gadgets and bling, the reality of the limited job and housing opportunities and the pressure of a more materialistic world leaves our young people at a disadvantage to their predecessors.  And that’s quite apart from the added costs of going on to further and higher education.


Meanwhile the Prime Minister and the Conservatives are already indicating that they intend to remove benefits from under 25s and confront them with an even starker choice of a job or training and no housing benefit. In our rural areas young people already have a double disadvantage of finding themselves more remote from their friends, college and their workplace than their metropolitan counterparts.  The costs of going out, getting to work or to college is usually more than double that of young people in urban areas. Their choices and opportunities – already more restricted than in towns and cities – are narrowed yet further by the high price of tickets.


But while young people growing up in rural areas feel the worst effects of ticket prices on their educational, social and employment options, it is urban areas that have the most generous schemes in place to help young people. The Zip Card, for example, which is available to 16 -18 year old Londoners in education, opens up the transport system with child-rate travelcards, free bus travel, and half-price tube and train tickets.  People over 18 studying in London can also say goodbye to 30% of the cost of a travelcard giving them “all you can eat” travel in the city.


That’s why I’m urging the Government to introduce a new young persons’ travel card – equivalent to the pensioners bus pass.


The proposal is based on the introduction of statutory concessionary travel for all 16 to 19 year olds who live in designated rural areas – though I recognise that not all young people will choose to take up the offer.  Participating bus and rail services would be assisted with the introduction of the Oyster card style swipe technology. I believe that we should be using this as a “vehicle” for the introduction of an Oyster-style swipe card as passengers get on to buses, speeding up the transaction and improving the effective management of concessionary arrangements for young people and other bus users.


Local authorities would be responsible for administering a scheme which would be Government funded.  Such a scheme could either offer a percentage discount beyond that already offered to young people or a completely free service up to a predetermined quarterly limit (the young person would be responsible for topping up their card to pay for any additional travel beyond that considered “reasonable” under the scheme).


Using the Government’s already existing definition of rural areas, the total cost of the scheme could be as little as £30 million or up to £90 million, depending on which definition of “rural” you use and how generous the scheme is.


Needless to say, people are bound to ask how such a scheme would be paid for.  The answer is through the Common Agricultural Policy!


All European countries agree that spending on direct support to farmers must come down and that some of those payments should be used to support regeneration in the wider rural economy.  Amongst the six priorities for rural regeneration is one which is to “promote social inclusion, poverty reduction and economic development in rural areas”.  I can think of little better than the support of a new Rural Young Persons’ Public Transport Support Scheme.


Whilst the Government has capped benefits to the poor, I have been asking them to apply the same principle through the Common Agricultural Policy in its payments to wealthy farmers.


Of course any Government should be able to introduce a reasonable cap on very high claims for tax-payer funded benefits.  However, if “we are all in it together” the Government should not resist, as they are, the introduction of a cap on tax-payer funded benefits to the largest and wealthiest landowners in the country through the farm support system.  Many farmers are receiving hundreds of thousands of pounds and, in some individual cases, cheques each year of more than £1 million – money they don’t need.  If a portion of that were directed to the Rural Young Persons’ Transport Support Scheme this would help towards the funding of a much needed free bus pass arrangement for rural young folk.


Not only would it help young people seeking jobs, getting to college, having a social life, but it would get some of the death trap of having to use a moped and provide income to underpin much needed bus services.


Andrew George MP

Kernow a’n West ha Syllan

West Cornwall and the Scillies

Kwartron Porthia

Constituency of St Ives

Tel:  01736 360020

Fax:  01736 332866


7th October 2013

(Rural) Young Adults Travelcard


To give young adults in rural areas improved access to transport; giving them the means of overcoming disadvantage of rural isolation by providing statutory concessionary travelcards for 16-25 year olds in rural areas.


1)      To stop rural areas becoming the exclusive preserve of the better off

2)      To ensure that young people/adults are not disadvantaged in contrast with their urban counterparts in respect of accessibility of services, jobs, education, training and social life.


The introduction of a statutory concessionary travel for 16-25 year olds in rural areas, administered via electronic travel Oyster-style cards instituted either by a) a percentage discount on every journey b) £1 per single c) £1 all day (“pound to get around”) d) pre-loaded travelcards with regular tops up which could be supplemented by the cardholder. Bus and rail companies involved in the scheme would be assisted in provision of technology and would be required to cooperate on a similar basis to the older person’s bus pass system.

The issue:

–          One of the biggest differences between urban and rural areas is in the cost and accessibility of transport.

–          Transport is essential for young people for access to study, work and maintaining a social life

–          Many employed young people are working for a reduced minimum wage of £2.68 (apprentice), £3.72 (aged 16-18), or £5.03 ( aged 18-20)

–          High travel costs make it harder for young people in rural areas to “make work pay”

–          Increasing pressure on under 25 year olds, with the Chancellor threatening to remove access to housing benefit for this age group.

–          Expensive and infrequent bus services add to isolation, discourage the young from using buses, impoverish those who have to find private transport and put young people at greater risk due to the use of more dangerous modes of transports (motorbikes and mopeds)

–          Travel costs minimise numbers of journeys taken, which lead to a reduced demand for services

–          Reduced demand often leads to a loss of profits for the service provider, and a reduction in timetabled services


What are we proposing?

  • Statutory concessionary travel for people aged 16-25 living in rural areas.
  • By reference to the ONS/DEFRA definition of rural areas those people within this age group travelling from within rural areas will be entitled to discounted local bus travel.
  • Option A: A percentage discount on every journey e.g. the continuation of the 50% Child Fare up to the age of 25 in rural areas, implemented via  electronic travel cards; £1 per single; £1 all day options.
  • Option B: Pre-loaded electronic travel cards topped up with a fixed sum, which could then be supplemented by the cardholder, with negotiated concessions (50% off ticket price) with participating companies.
  • Option C: Unlimited free bus travel for all rural 16-25 year olds

What infrastructure would need to be put in place in order to carry out this plan?

  • Smart cards and card readers
  • Photo ID to ensure cards cannot be transferred
  • Smart card technology is in the process of being rolled out across the UK
  • Smart card software is required to identify points of access to the service, and to record use information for cost purposes for operator reimbursement

What are the costs and where is the money coming from?

The urban/rural classification used for the calculations is that determined in 2004, which was delivered by the Rural Evidence Research Centre at Birkbeck College (RERC) following a joint project between Government Departments[1], and used by the Office for National Statistics and DEFRA. This definition adopted a settlements approach, comprising four settlement types, of which three were rural:


–              Town and Fringe (rural)

–              Village (rural)

–              Hamlet and Isolated Dwellings (rural)


The population aged 16-25 in these settlement types have been used to form the estimated cost.


Rural 16-25 year olds – population figures 2010 (via House of Commons Library)




& Wales












Less Sparse








Town and Fringe








Less Sparse




Village, Hamlet & Isolated Dwellings








Less Sparse






Based on these figures it is possible to project possible costs of rolling out the scheme across England.  These are based on ticket price figures from 2010 (the most recent available according to the House of Commons Library) and prices will clearly rise with the passing of time. Here are two sets of figures, one for all areas classified as “rural”, the other excluding the “town and fringe” category and focussing purely on less populated areas – villages and hamlets.

Costs of the Scheme

All “rural” category areas (Town and Fringe + Village, Hamlet, Isolated Dwellings)[2]

Total population size (16-25) 920, 089
Average bus trips/year 57.24
Total bus trips/year 52,665,894
Average fare (£) 1.70
Total cost of all journeys taken (£) 89,532,020
Cost in £ under Option A (50% discount) 44,766,010
Cost in £ under Option B (£50 quarterly top up) 184, 017, 800
Cost in £ under Option C (free travel) 89,532,020


Village, Hamlet, Isolated Dwellings only

Total population size (16-25) 447,021
Average bus trips/year 57.24
Total bus trips/year 25,587,482
Average fare (£) 1.70
Total cost of all journeys taken (£) 43,498,719
Cost in £ under Option A (50% discount) 21,749,360
Cost in £ under Option B (£50 quarterly top up) 89, 404, 200
Cost in £ under Option C (free travel) 43,498,719


The total is obviously keenly affected by the number of trips taken per year. While the average person takes 57.24 trips per year [3] by bus, it should be noted that more than half of all these trips are taken within London (2.315 billion from a total of 4.598 billion journeys).[4] Only 756 million journeys are taken on local bus services in “significantly” or “predominantly” rural areas – just 16.4% of the national total. While the scheme would clearly benefit young people travelling outside rural areas as well as within them, these figures indicate that the actual number of journeys subsidised by the scheme may in reality be much lower than the conservative figures in the tables above, which are based on the national average of bus journeys and skewed by the huge proportion taken in London alone.


 CAP Pillar II

The European Commission’s Communication of 2010 concerning the future of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) after 2013 notes that a priority for the CAP will be: “the balanced territorial development of rural areas throughout the EU by empowering people in local areas, building capacity and improving local conditions and links between rural and urban areas.”[5]

This scheme clearly fits within Axis 3 of the CAP Pillar II funding area: “improving the quality of life in rural areas and encouraging diversification of the rural economy”.[6] It could play a vital part in living up to the UK’s commitment to the priority of “Promoting social inclusion, poverty reduction and economic development in rural areas”.[7]

In addition the transport DPM teams are looking at a nationwide travel concession policy for 16 to 18 year olds or 16 to 24 year olds.  Calculations have been worked on the basis of including and excluding London.  I attach the tables for the estimates below:


Table A: estimated year 1 costs for England (£m)


Age 16-18

Age 16-19

Age 16-21

Age 16-24

100% discount





66% discount





50% discount





£1 single

(44% discount)





£1 return

(72% discount)





£1 all day

(77% discount)






 Table B: estimated year 1 costs for England excluding London (£m)


Age 16-18

Age 16-19

Age 16-21

Age 16-24

100% discount





66% discount





50% discount





£1 single (44% discount)





£1 return (72% discount)





£1 all day (77% discount)






Therefore, if the proposal is to have a nationwide scheme in which rural areas clearly would be part, then it is important to design a scheme which particularly benefits those most disadvantaged by poor public transport – i.e. those young people without access to a private car in rural areas – our target group.  The £1 per trip or £1 all day option might provide the best overall benefit for rural younger people/adults and the charged travel/oyster card technology the best mechanism for its delivery.


I hope this material is helpful in the Party’s policy deliberation.


Andrew George MP

13th June 2014

[2] Figures via ONS as above

[4] 2012/2013 figures from Table BUS0111, “Passenger journeys on local bus services by urban-rural classification1: England, annual from 2004/05”…/bus0111.xls

Andrew George with Penwith College Students

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