It was a year ago this week that Florence Endellion Cameron was born while the Prime Minister and his family were on holiday here in Cornwall. Last weekend they were in Cornwall again in their second attempt this year at getting an August break.
You have to go back a long way to find a Prime Minister who has been so passionate for Cornwall. Margaret Thatcher used to regularly visit Cornwall on holiday and Harold Wilson famously loved the Scilly Isles but over the last twenty years, Cornwall hasn’t seen much of its Prime Ministers and it is good to see that trend well and truly broken. By my calculation, David Cameron has holidayed in Cornwall for four of the last five years and has been undeterred by the fact that there have been some very wet summers in that time. I am not sure if there has ever been a Prime Minister in history who had a Cornish daughter, let alone one named after a Cornish village.
Also in Cornwall last week was George Osborne who was here to announce that Cornwall has been successful in being awarded an Enterprise Zone at Newquay Airport to create new jobs by offering incentives for new companies to invest in the county. There was very tough competition across the country with many bids chasing only a handful of Enterprise Zones and so it has been a major achievement to get one here in Cornwall. It was always going to be important for the new Local Enterprise Partnership in Cornwall to deliver some early successes to build credibility so this was an important step forward. It was also a reminder of the benefits to Cornwall of being politically plugged in to the government so that we can get our voice heard.
Last week while canvassing in Camborne I met a constituent who was working at Parker, the American engineering firm in Redruth which is currently planning to close. He had worked in engineering all his life. Although he was understandably concerned for the future, he was also determined to find new work, had a can-do attitude and was the sort of person who should have no difficulty. But for me, it was a reminder that getting new industries and better paid jobs in Cornwall must remain the number one priority. We need to make sure that the benefits of the Enterprise Zone lift employment prospects across Cornwall and the task now for the LEP is to plan how there can be spin off benefits to towns like Camborne and Redruth perhaps by creating incentives on Business Rates. There are some good news stories with development at Hayle and new manufacturers such as Calidus and Seasalt opening in Redruth but there is more to do.
George Eustice can be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org or at 1 Trevenson Street, Camborne, Cornwall, TR14 8JD or by telephone on 020 72197032.