Richard Foord Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Defence) 3:35 pm, 25th April 2023
I would like to tell a tale of two announcements. We are used to reannouncements, where the Government use much fanfare to introduce funding that, it later emerges, they have announced before. But I want to describe something that is new to me: an announcement with two faces.
On 7 April, the Sidmouth Herald quoted a Government press release:
“This week, the water Minister”— the Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Rebecca Pow—
“confirmed £70 million of cash will be used to improve sewage systems in Sidmouth, Tipton St John and Axminster, as well as Falmouth in Cornwall. East Devon’s share of the cash…will help prevent sewage overflows in Sidmouth and Tipton St John, as well as water pollution in Axminster.”
On the surface, that is welcome: £70 million to improve sewage systems in east Devon. Those reading that in the paper in Devon are led to believe that that relates to our area, and might miss the passing reference to a distant town in Cornwall, but readers in my part of Devon are discerning and they notice a mention of Cornwall in a story that is supposed to be about Devon.
To get a full picture of what is going on here, one needs to travel 125 miles south-east of Axminster and read the same announcement in Falmouth’s local newspaper, The Packet. What does the Conservative Government’s announcement claim in Falmouth?
“South West Water’s total investment for the Falmouth area includes…a total of £40 million.”
By reading about the same announcement in the neighbouring county, we find that most of the £70 million funding is not for east Devon at all.
I, for one, will never defer to the interests of polluting water firms or simply parrot the lines they suggest we MPs might like to use. Instead, I will always stand up for my constituents, who are seeing their bills rise and profits leaking out in bonuses, all while sewage poisons our rivers and beaches.
Thanks for that information but…..oops!
Readers in our part of Devon also know that Falmouth is about 125 miles south west of Axminster.
125 miles south east of Axminster and you’re almost in France.