Tuesday, 26 March 2013

A day in the life of an MP...

8.30 am. There had been concerns that the flooding in South Devon would have delayed the sleeper train but, as is so often the case we rolled into Camborne bang on time. My first meeting of the day was an 8.30 breakfast meeting at Cornwall College. They have just received a prestigious national award recognising their success in promoting science in further education and engaging employers. I have always argued that science is the key to the future prosperity of our nation so it is good to see a local college taking the lead.

10.15 am. Next, it was down to Hayle for a visit to Julian Foyes new furniture store. This company made a major investment in Hayle two years ago which has been an important boost to the Copperhouse end of the town and I wanted to check how it was going. It is good news which is always a relief. When local businesses take a risk to invest in our area and create new jobs and prosperity, I always want the best for them. Julian Foye have done a fantastic job on the layout of their new shop and have an incredible stock of quality furniture.

11.30 am. Back to Camborne for a meeting at the Apollo Bingo Hall. There is an anomaly that means, bizarrely, bingo halls are taxed more highly than betting shops which is wrong in my view. Bingo, while a form of gambling, is a more social and less harmful pursuit than other forms of gambling and it seem crazy that we should tax this more. At the very least we should aim to achieve parity of treatment. It was quiet at that time of the morning but I plan to come back one evening to try my luck.

12.45 pm. Next up I had a lunch with party agents to discuss the upcoming council elections. Four years ago, under Lib Dem control, Cornwall Council was one of the worst performing councils in the country, in the bottom four percent. Now it is one of the most improved councils in the country. Council tax has been frozen, there have been efficiency savings of £170 million and failing services like social care and children's services have been turned around. There is more to do but Conservative councillors have a record they can be proud of.

2.00 pm. Then it's off to Redruth for a meeting with the team at Prospects, one of the contractors operating the government's flagship "work programme." This has a crucial role to play in getting the long term unemployed back into work, offering everything from confidence building programmes to training and interview practice. I was really impressed by what I saw here and was told that around 30 percent of those entering the programme are getting back into work. But I want to keep in close contact with providers to ensure that we continue to refine it and iron out any creases.

3.30 pm. I then head up the road for a visit to Home Start at Gweal an Top which is a great charity based locally that organises a team of 60 volunteers to offer befriending and peer support for young parents trying to cope with challenges in their lives. These can range from a bereavement to the pressure of having twins to one parent suffering from depression. The volunteers come in on a regular basis to offer emotional and practical support to help families through a difficult patch. The evidence is so clear that the first three years of a child's life are crucial and I have always been a huge supporter of the work projects like Home Start do.

7.00 pm. Tonight is the annual AGM for the Constantine branch of the Conservative Party and we have a very good turnout for their reception at the village hall. I am asked to deliver a speech and take questions afterwards. We cover a broad range of topics including planning policy, TB in badgers, support for farming, the need for party unity and so on. It is good to see that we are getting such strong support in these areas.

9.15 pm. The Camborne branch of the Conservative Association have a variety show tonight at the Conservative Club to raise funds for the Children's Hospice. My engagement in Constantine meant that I was unable to be there for the first half but I arrive in time for the second half which included singing from the Holman Climax Choir, Richard Trethewey, Janette Eathorne and some magic by Philip Southwood! This event started this year and was a great success and I hope it will become an annual feature.

11.30 pm. It's been a long day and I arrive home at Trevaskis to microwave my dinner. My father has got pretty good at stir fries lately and wanted to try this latest one out on me which did not disappoint. We have a packed day of surgeries tomorrow morning covering all sorts of problems and the afternoon will be spent out canvassing in Connor Downs with Lionel Pascoe, our council candidate for Gwinear and Gwithian. So time to get some sleep.

George Eustice can be contacted at george.eustice.mp@parliament.uk or 1 Trevenson Street, Camborne, Cornwall TR14 8JD or by telephone on 020 72197032.