Monday, 16 December 2013

AUTUMN STATEMENT

A lot has been achieved but there is still a lot more to be getting on with. That is the message the Chancellor delivered last week in his Autumn Statement to the House of Commons. I think George Osborne is right to be positive, with original growth figures upgraded to 2.4% for next year it is clear the economy is turning a corner and it is also clear his plan is the right one. We need to continue on the path of cutting our deficit and stimulating growth so that we can balance the books and after five years we could even be running a surplus. I also think that no one is saying this news allows us to rest on our laurels. There is still a long way to go and we still need to provide the right incentives to keep growth going.

There was some good news for Cornwall with the announcement firstly of the fuel price freeze next year. I believe this will be welcomed by many, because people in our part of the world cannot necessarily always use public transport for getting to work and rely on their car which can become really expensive. Cornish Business can also struggle because of their distance from markets and associated transport costs. I have often argued that this needs to be taken into account. The fuel price freeze is important in keeping the costs of living down and I know many families will be pleased with this commitment.

We also need to help our young people find that first job and there was a range of measures announced that will encourage that. When I visit schools in our area and Cornwall College I am always struck by a real culture of striving to achieve excellence and over the past few years I have been really impressed by the young people I meet. They deserve all the help they can get when it comes to moving on and the Government’s move to scrap employers’ National Insurance contributions for under 21’s is a step in the right direction. The Jobcentre will also do more to help sixteen to eighteen year olds find a suitable apprenticeship or traineeship if they are not in work..

There is also some good news for our shops and the High Street with help for those struggling with burdensome business rates. As of next year a business will have up to a one thousand allowance if they have a rateable value of fifty thousand or less and the planned rate rise will be capped and less than originally planned. I often hear of these rates causing concern and this relief is crucial. Overall, we need to make sure that with everyone talking about a recovery this is felt in people’s pockets.

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.

Thursday, 5 December 2013

Cost of Living

There was some great news for hard pressed bill-payers last week when South-West Water announced a price freeze for all households and businesses until April 2015. It will no doubt mean a sigh of relief for all those households in our area concerned about rising utility bills who now have at least some certainty in what to budget for water costs. As winter draws in and energy bills increase, I think this news should be welcomed and especially because it comes with a commitment from the water company to look at keeping prices below inflation all the way through to 2020.

Of course bills are still disproportionately high for households in Cornwall and this historic injustice comes from that fact South West Water looks after water quality over a vast coastline but deals with a relatively small population. That said the £50 rebate that was introduced in April this year has been a very welcome start and for the average Cornish household their bill actually fell this year by 7.3%. The price freeze announced last week is another step in the right direction.

Whilst water is important, we also need to look at other ways to cut the cost of living which everyone agrees is a top priority and when I am out knocking on doors in the constituency the subject is never far away. The scrapping of the fuel duty escalator by the government was vitally important for a county like Cornwall because many people who work cannot rely on public transport and have no option but to use their car and our businesses have to transport their goods hundreds of miles to market which is a major cost. Just filling up can be a worrying cost for families and I have always argued for fuel costs to be as low as possible.

When it comes to the cost of energy the government have also very recently announced a range of measures that will lead to a £50 cut in the average household bill which are coming into effect soon. The recent hikes in energy bills have caused a real shock and this cut is absolutely critical to help people deal with this extra burden. It is difficult because energy prices here are largely controlled by wholesale energy prices around the world but suppliers need to be transparent at how they can keep costs down and the government can work with them on this. Progress has been made but it is clear that for now and in the future new approaches need to be looked at.

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

Monday, 2 December 2013

The future is bright for Hayle


It is great to see that at long last developments on Hayle’s South Quay have finally begun. Residents won’t have failed to notice the site of construction workers and vehicles and their arrival marks a new phase in the revival of the town which promises to transform both the landscape and also the local economy. The project is going to totally redevelop a site which was left derelict for far too long and I know I am not alone in looking forward to watching the progress made and ultimately a new and vibrant harbour.

It has not always been plain sailing for those involved and what has at long last come about began with some considerable objections from English Heritage over the historical nature of the site. They wanted the owners, ING bank, to work more closely with architects specialising in historic renovation and although ING were happy to do this they still objected and referred the decision back up to the government inviting them to block the plans. With both Hayle Town Council and Cornwall Council endorsing the new scheme and a lot of local support, the Secretary of State rightly set aside the objections of English Heritage and did the right thing by giving these plans the green light.

We are now seeing the plans come to life and what makes them so unique is the proposal for a supermarket in the centre at the Foundry end of South Quay with restaurants and other mixed development on the rest of the quay. I think that out of town supermarkets can drain life away from the town centre and the plans for Hayle’s new Asda will bring new life into the town rather than bleed more life away as well as creating over two hundred local jobs. The South Quay proposal will be connected in the most literal sense possible to the rest of the town with a footbridge over the harbour to Biggleston’s, one of Hayle’s oldest shops. When Cornwall Council granted permission to ING, they also included an obligation for the bank to repair the harbour walls and deliver the necessary flood defences which will provide a great foundation for the development.

Looking ahead there are some other brilliant ideas in the pipeline that mean a bright future for the town. There are plans for a redeveloped East Quay to become a new facility that will expand the towns fishing industry. I have argued for a shuttle boat link between St Ives and Hayle and these are starting to move closer to fruition. I think it is clear Hayle is growing from strength to strength and there is every reason to be optimistic for its future.

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.