Thursday, 24 November 2016

Redruth Job Centre

Last week, I visited Redruth Job Centre. Unemployment is at its lowest level for many years and I was told that on one local job website alone, there were some 500 job vacancies within a five mile radius of Redruth.

I have always been impressed by the local management team at Redruth Job Centre.  They have an enthusiasm and a passion for the area.  They try new ideas and pilot new approaches nationally.  They currently operate a call centre helpline from Redruth offering advice to benefit claimants nationally using the expertise that the team have developed over many years.

While no system we put in place will ever be perfect and different people need different support, we have to constantly try to improve the support we offer local people to help them back into work. Getting a job and being a valued part of a team in a working environment gives people purpose in life and can help on so many other fronts too.  That is why we owe it to the long term unemployed to help them gain the confidence to take work.

About seven years ago under Gordon Brown's premiership, there was a severe problem with youth unemployment.  When David Cameron became Prime Minister he introduced a new work experience programme so that young people who had left school or college could do work experience for a few weeks. It was contentious at the time and some dubbed it "slave labour" but they were proved completely wrong.  The policy was an extraordinary success and many young people found work as a result. Youth unemployment has now fallen dramatically.  

The next challenge is to help those with impairments or suffering from depression and anxiety back to work. A lot of progress has been made through schemes like Access to Work which provides grants to help people with a disability get any additional equipment they might need to help them get a job.  There is also more work being done to redesign the "Work Programme" so that it provides additional help to those who are on Employment Support Allowance and other disability benefits and to help knock down the barriers to them joining the workplace where possible.  

As the economy turns a corner, we need to make sure we continue to create better paid jobs for this part of Cornwall. As new companies arrive I want to see them become successful and profitable enough to offer higher wages so that we encourage people to take work and stay in work.

Thursday, 17 November 2016

Remembrance Sunday

It was a beautiful day for this year’s Remembrance Sunday services. I joined the Royal British Legion at Redruth in the morning, and then went on to Illogan in the afternoon. This year marks the centenary of the Battle of the Somme and Battle of Jutland, as well as the 25th anniversary of the Gulf War.

2016 saw twenty one Second World War veterans from across Cornwall being presented with the Légion d’honneur. The French Government has been awarding the Légion d’honneur to D-Day veterans from many different countries as a way of honouring and thanking those who fought and risked their lives to secure France’s liberation during the Second World War.  The Légion d’honneur was established in 1802 by Napoléon Bonaparte and is France’s highest distinction and is awarded in recognition of both military and civilian merit.

However, we also have more recent scars from conflict.  There is no doubt in my mind that the difficult operations in both Iraq and Afghanistan in recent years has made the public far more conscious of sacrifices made by our armed forces. We owe those who have given up so much at such a young age all the support they need to help them build their lives back, especially those who suffered life changing injuries during those terrible conflicts. Charities such as Help for Heroes, the Army Benevolent Fund and the Royal British Legion do just that, helping people recover not just from the physical but also mental difficulties that come from being exposed to war.

It was good to see such a strong attendance from all the various Cadet groups, Scouts and Brownies. It is great to see these movements going from strength to strength, and the young people that represent them always do us proud.

Friday, 11 November 2016

Carnegie Wave Energy at Wave Hub

I have always believed that Wave Hub is a really exciting project. It is the world’s largest and most technologically advanced site for the testing and development of offshore renewable energy technology. It is establishing Hayle as an international centre of excellence in the renewable energy technologies of the future, and this in turn is securing the UK’s reputation as a market leader in offshore renewables.

I am delighted that Carnegie Wave Energy, a leading wave energy developer from Australia, has been awarded a grant to support the first phase of its £60m commercial wave energy project at Wave Hub. Carnegie Wave Energy is the only company in the world to have operated a grid-connected wave energy project over four seasons, and I believe that it is wonderful news for Cornwall.

The project will be delivered by Carnegie’s local subsidiary, CWE UK, which is already based at the Hayle Marine Renewable Business Park. Delivery of the project will leverage Cornwall’s wave energy resource, marine energy revenue support, maritime industrial heritage, Wave Hub infrastructure, and innovative marine engineering and research sectors.

Additionally, the project will include engagement with, and coordination of, a suitable supply chain for the construction and operational phases. Having spoken with representatives from Carnegie Wave Energy, I am confident that the project will bring huge opportunities to commercialise wave energy in the UK.

Carnegie Wave Energy will be announcing the funding and the CETO Wave Hub Project at the Ocean Energy Europe conference in Brussels this week. I will be meeting with representatives from Carnegie at Hayle, and look forward to learning more about the project.

Attracting Carnegie Wave Energy to Cornwall highlights a long term commitment to this sector. I am hugely proud of what has been achieved at Wave Hub. I am excited about its future, and believe that we should fully support continued investment in this sector.

Thursday, 3 November 2016

Meeting with Volunteers

This week, I met with a group of students from Camborne Science and International Academy. They were all taking part in the National Citizen Service. As part of this, the group were at the Centenary Chapel on Wesley Street volunteering at the food bank.

Visiting groups such as these always boosts my faith in human nature. The energy, determination and commitment of the group was infectious. The food bank has now been running for a number of years. The driving force behind the project is Don Gardner but he has incredible support from volunteers both connected with churches in Camborne and outside, as well as other volunteer groups. I was really heartened to hear of the excellent contribution being made by the students from CSIA.

The concept of the food bank is simple: members of the public and sometimes local businesses donate food to the charity and local agencies can issue vouchers for food to those families facing genuine financial crisis. As well as helping those facing problems all year round, they make a special effort at Christmas. Food Banks do excellent work helping those who have hit difficult times and I fully support the efforts of people like Don Gardner and others from local churches in our community who have come together to offer support in this way.  

Digital Skills and Connectivity

One of the ways we can raise wages and incomes in the area is by promoting more apprenticeships and locally Cornwall College which I attende...