Last week’s budget showed the challenge of coalition government. Both parties need to make space for frank discussion without the contents leaking like a sieve. The widespread leaking of budget measures before the day has not been helpful to building trust within the coalition.
But the budget itself had a great deal of good news for Cornwall. The increase in the tax threshold was a huge boost for the local economy lifting everyone earning under £9200 out of tax altogether and slashing the tax take from everyone else. I have always felt that it is ludicrous the way we take tax off people who are working only to return it to them again in benefits with a whole load of strings attached, so this move to simply things and take the lowest earners out of tax altogether was incredibly welcome.
There has been a lot of controversy over the proposed reforms of the VAT regime for hot takeaway food and there is a great deal of concern over the impact this might have on Cornish pasties. It is another of those issues where all MPs in Cornwall, regardless of party, must work together to try to get common sense to prevail and to prevent any damage being done to this vital Cornish industry. There is a consultation underway and we have to ensure that Cornwall’s voice is heard.
The budget also had some good news for local businesses. If we want to get this country out of the hole it is in, we need to support businesses and encourage them to locate in Cornwall and expand their operations here. The reduction in Corporation Tax will attract outside investment and there were also plans to support lending to small businesses. There was also an expansion in support for those businesses which want to export and find new markets overseas which I was especially pleased to see.
Finally, at a more local level, I want to pay tribute to the fantastic work of CPR Regeneration over the last few years. This has been a great success story locally but their project ends this month. The idea was conceived under the last Conservative government in the late 90’s but it has had cross party support ever since. Over the last three years, I have been incredibly impressed by Nigel Tipple and the rest of his team and their achievements. They have really delivered and a lot of important projects are about to come to fruition, such as the Camborne to Redruth new link road. As an MP, you have to get used to wading through treacle to get anything done, but those long suffering individuals who make economic regeneration their passion, have to wade through concrete to make things happen and we should take our hats off to them.
George Eustice can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or 1 Trevenson Street, Camborne, Cornwall TR14 8JD or by telephone on 020 72197032.