Friday, 2 March 2018

Cornish Pasty Week

This week, I welcomed a delegation from the Cornish Pasty Association to Parliament. Association members and pasty producers were able to discuss the importance of the Cornish pasty industry to our local economy. I am clear that the Cornish Pasty will retain its protected status when we leave the EU.
This week marks the start of the very first Cornish Pasty Week. A delegation, including a giant Mr and Mrs Pasty, took over the sleeper train service from Cornwall to London on Sunday night. They visited landmarks including Buckingham Palace and the London Eye, before coming to parliament. The week will end with the World Pasty Championships taking place at the Eden Project. Pasty makers will descend from around Cornwall, the UK and the world to take part.

The Cornish pasty is recognised across the world. When Cornish miners fanned out across the world, they took the pasty with them. I remember a former colleague from Australia telling me about the Cornish festivals that used to take place in the town where he grew up. We have also developed great links with Real Del Monte in Mexico. I have met representatives of the town on several occasions, including local pasty makers. Hundreds of Cornish miners ended their lives in the area and many are to be found in one of the local cemeteries, apparently facing home to Cornwall which was a common request at the time.
When I first became an MP, the Government announced that it would put VAT on freshly baked pasties. The traditional exemption from VAT was what civil servants described as an “anomaly”. Along with my fellow Cornish MPs, I battled to ensure this didn’t happen. Thankfully, common sense prevailed. It was partly this debacle that led to the idea of a pasty festival in Redruth.
Cornish Pasty Week is a great celebration, and everyone can get involved. Brian Etherington’s in Redruth will be producing the largest pasty for the #pastysmile. Proper Cornish are giving away pasties on certain train services, whilst Warren’s Bakery are promoting their ‘pasty passport’ and a school competition to design a new pasty flavour.

These celebrations are taking place in the run up to St Piran’s Day. Over the past few years, we have seen a growing interest in Cornwall’s history and culture. Camborne, Redruth and Hayle are at the very heart of this revival. The new Cornish archive, Kresen Kernow, is really taking shape on the site of the old brewery. I lobbied hard to ensure that Redruth, home to most of the world-wide Cornish diaspora, was chosen as the location for this project, which will create new jobs, housing and continue the wider regeneration of the area.

This weekend, I am looking forward to attending the St Piran’s Day Procession in Redruth. I will also be going to the St Piran’s Day festivities at the Buttermarket. This will include craft activities, food stalls and entertainment by Raise the Ruth singers.

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