Thursday, 22 May 2014

CHANCELLOR IN CORNWALL

Last week the Chancellor George Osborne came to Redruth to meet some of our area’s businesses and to look round the Teagle machinery factory at Blackwater. His visit coincided with new figures that put unemployment in Camborne, Redruth and Hayle at its lowest level for years. George Osborne took tough decisions early in this Parliament and those difficult decisions are now bringing results with growth back in the economy. Whilst there is still a long way to go I know that some of our leading businesses were interested to hear his plans for the future and ask their own questions.

Decisions on a national level directly influence the regeneration of our area and nationally the economy has turned a corner. The deficit has been reduced by a third and income tax has been cut by approximately seven hundred pounds for over twenty five million people. Employment at its highest level since records began, with 1.6 million new jobs created since the general election. Welfare is also being reformed so no working family can be earning less than those on benefits. Considering the problems we were facing only a few years ago, this is quite an achievement and something to build on.

I want to make sure local firms are taking advantage of the recovery, employing new people and expanding their businesses because we actually have some fantastic innovation in our area that we should be proud of. I have always said this is the part of Cornwall where good ideas are made and the work gets done and a stronger local economy will deliver important social change.

We have businesses which are at the cutting edge of a modern economy despite our remote location. Large Diameter Drilling, Fugro Seacore and Severn Subsea all manufacture complex parts for the oil and gas industry, whilst other precision engineering firms such as DP Engineering in Redruth and Rigibore in Hayle work in aerospace and hydraulics. We have other success stories in many different industries, whether it be food processors such as Roddas Creamery or Falfish in Redruth or housing specialists such as Frame UK.

New sectors in IT and clean energy have also based themselves here, making good use of the superfast broadband now on offer. The Pool Innovation Centre has accommodated many of these, and it is now home to 48 companies employing 250 people. WaveHub in Hayle has also recently found its final investor and will soon be at the forefront of testing capabilities for wave energy.

I am not saying everything in the garden is rosy, but we are getting there and with forward-thinking business we can secure a strong and diverse local economy. We should be proud of our achievements on that front.

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, 15 May 2014

European Elections

With euro elections just around the corner, debate has once again returned to the EU and Britain's role in Europe. If the pollsters are to be believed, UKIP will do well. It is a debate I have always followed closely. I first got involved in politics campaigning for James Goldsmith's Referendum Party in 1997. I then stood as a UKIP candidate in the 1999 euro elections and, after leaving them, went on to spend four years campaigning for the anti-euro No Campaign which de-railed Tony Blair's ambitions to force Britain into the euro.

I left UKIP after about six months because I actually thought they were too defeatist about the prospects of changing our relationship with Europe and because their activity often undermined the very cause they claimed to believe in. For instance, in the euro debate, they insisted on claiming that it was impossible to keep the pound but stay in the EU. It was exactly the same argument that was being used by the campaign to abolish the pound and, after ten years being in the EU while happily maintaining our own currency, we now know that UKIP were wrong. Ironically, UKIP still have the pound sign as part of their logo even though they were a counter-productive liability to the anti-euro campaign.

Today, the same sorts of people who said we couldn't keep the pound and stay in the EU are saying that it is impossible to renegotiate our relationship with the EU. I disagree. Britain was one of the early members of the EU and is still one of its largest. It's our EU too and if we want to change it then it can be changed. We have global reach when it comes to diplomatic ties and we are an important market for Europe just as they are for us. They wants us to stay and will accommodate our needs because the rest of Europe would be hugely diminished without the power and influence that Britain brings to the table.

Two years ago I founded the Fresh Start Group of MPs which argued for a renegotiation of Britain's relationship with the EU and the return of some powers. It is a view shared by David Cameron who took up the idea in a landmark speech at the beginning of last year. In it he pledged to renegotiate Britain's relationship with the EU and then have a referendum so that the people could decide whether to stay in or not. It was the most important speech any Prime Minister has given on Europe since we joined. But once again, the party most likely to deny David Cameron a majority and therefore scupper a referendum is UKIP.

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, 8 May 2014

New boat shuttle connects Hayle and St Ives

These are exciting times for Hayle with work now well underway to regenerate South Quay and the Foundry end of town. All my lifetime and even further back, people have talked about rejuvenation. Some years ago a local resident drew my attention to a book written around the time of the First World War. In it he said was a prescient sentence, "work to regenerate Hayle harbour has been delayed until after the war." We would hear that many more times in the decades that followed and one of my objectives on becoming an MP was to break this endless cycle of failure and make it happen.

We got there in the end and, now that the work is underway, it's time to think about how we can make the most of our town's new offer. Two years ago I called for a new shuttle boat link between Hayle and St Ives. In future, many people on holiday in St Ives will want to come to Hayle for a day out on one of the best beaches in the country or to visit attractions like Paradise Park. Likewise, those in the holiday parks in Hayle need an easier way to spend an evening out in St Ives. Parking in St Ives has always been a nightmare and there is often congestion in the summer. It’s crazy that people have to drive all the way around the bay when a boat service could easily hop across the water.

I am thrilled that local entrepreneur John Johnson and his family have taken up the challenge and last Saturday I had the privilege to experience the new service myself. The boat used is a high speed rib which departs from North Quay. Although at full pelt the boats can make the journey in less than five minutes, they have decided to make it less of a white knuckle ride although we still completed the trip in a little over ten minutes. We travelled out into the heart of the bay and cut back in towards the beautiful coast around Carbis Bay. You get a different perspective of the bay shared by our two towns and it's a great reminder that St Ives boasts one of the most beautiful bays in the country, framed by St Ives point at one end and Godrevy Light House at the other.

The tides around Hayle are a limiting factor on the hours the service can run but there will typically be two periods of 3-4 hours each day when the tides will be right. My wife has always liked to visit St Ives during summer and in future it will be made a whole lot easier and enjoyable. I will definitely be using the service again. Why not give it a go yourself? It's best to book in advance and details can be found at www.stivesboatrides.co.uk or telephone 07786782352.

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, 1 May 2014

CORNISH STATUS

Cornwall has always held a special place within the UK. We are proud of our culture and history and in recent years there has been a strong revival of interest in both the Cornish language and a growing number of people celebrating St Piran's day in March.

Last week, the government added another string to our bow when the Prime Minister announced that Cornwall would now be added to the list of national minorities alongside Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales on the Framework Convention submitted to the Council for Europe. Although we shouldn't get carried away by the implications of this decision, it is recognition of Cornwall's historic, special status inside the UK.

Never before has this country had a Prime Minister with such a strong affinity for Cornwall. When asked about British cuisine last week, David Cameron cited the Cornish pasty. He has been to Cornwall every single year since becoming Prime Minister which must be a first for any Prime Minister. Last year he visited Frame Homes in Redruth to see some of the world class manufacturing in this part of the world. He has not always been lucky with the weather but has promised to return again this year. However, most of all, he has a Cornish daughter, Florence Endellion, which just might have been a decisive factor behind his decision last week.

There will now be debate about what happens next. I hope we will use this new designation to celebrate Cornwall's self confidence and distinctive identity within the UK. There will be those who seek to use it as a means to encourage separation and division but we should not allow our pride in our Cornish identity to be used to fuel negative and antagonistic attitudes towards the English. After all, we are all British and we all form part of the same British nation. There will also be those who will now call for a new Cornish Assembly to be built but I do not think it is right to have the cost of another tier of politicians in yet another parliament.

Last weekend we all celebrated Trevithick Day, despite the rain. Richard Trevithick was Cornwall's greatest inventor but he also looked out to the rest of the world. He spent much of his career working around the country bouncing ideas off other leading engineers and he worked abroad for many years. He was Cornish but took huge pride in what he contributed to the industrial revolution in Britain. As we consider what this new recognition means, we could learn from Richard Trevithick.

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.