Last Saturday, there was the traditional parade and celebrations in Camborne to mark Trevithick Day. There was a large turnout this year to celebrate the achievements of one of Camborne’s favourite sons, which is welcome particularly given the more muted celebrations we saw last year for the 250th anniversary.
Back in 2010, when I was first elected to Parliament, I made Richard Trevithick the focus of my maiden speech. I found a wonderful statement from him saying that, although he had been criticised for trying new principles and was left in severe financial hardship as a result of his pioneering endeavours, he knew in his own heart that he had brought forward new ideas that would be of boundless value to his country. For many years, Trevithick's achievements were not really recognised which makes it all the more important we celebrate them now even if we can’t do so in person.
As a pioneer Richard Trevithick invented the steam locomotive and epitomised the contribution made by Cornwall to the Industrial Revolution. It was the efforts of pioneers like Trevithick that put Cornwall on the map as a leading centre for industry and innovation. Whilst towns like Camborne and Redruth experienced some decline after the closure of the tin mines and Holman’s, new industries and technologies are beginning to establish themselves in our communities which offers the prospect of higher-paid employment in the future.
In the past, people had to choose between leaving Cornwall and taking a well-paid career upcountry or taking the lifestyle choice to live in the most beautiful part of the country but accepting a lower salary. That is starting to change.
Since I was first elected twelve years ago, I have made clear that economic regeneration in Camborne, Redruth and Hayle was my number one priority so it is very positive to see that the Government is developing a vision for how we can improve all areas not just focusing on the large cities such as Manchester or London. The recently published Levelling-Up White Paper, for example, set out a new vision for Cornwall within the United Kingdom by inviting us to be one of the nine counties invited to negotiate a new ‘county deal’. This will give local leaders more control over areas such as transport, skills, and infrastructure and is part of the largest devolution of power from Whitehall to local leaders in modern times. This is further boosted by the £23.7 million ‘Town-Deal’ package for Camborne, which is supporting projects such as the ‘Fibre Park’ tech hub and other projects regenerating areas in the town centre which will make a genuine difference and are a welcome boost for the town.
This is being further built on by the confirmation last week that the Government will match the UK Shared Prosperity Fund will match the previous complex, rigid, and bureaucratic EU Structural Funds, pound-for-pound. My hope is that we can start to see the funding really deliver on projects that substantially improve both quality of life and maximise the potential for growth and prosperity in our communities.