Monday, 22 December 2008

Cornwall's GVA is only 63% of average

Figures released by the Office of National Statistics show that Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly is still the poorest part of the United Kingdom.

Cornwall’s economic performance or GVA for 2006 (the latest year for which figures are available) is only 63% of the UK average. By contrast, Inner London’s GVA is 279% of the average.

A few weeks ago, Harriet Harman, the Deputy Leader of the Labour Party, visited Cornwall. She publicly stated that the economic downturn will hit ‘peripheral’ areas like Cornwall the hardest. This is not news to anyone who understands how an over-centralised state, such as the UK, operates or has experienced a past recession in the far west.

Gordon Brown states that his government is committed to expanding government spending as a way of stimulating the economy to ‘help people through difficult times.’

We have no issue with this, except that it is my very real concern that, as so often in the past, the main investment in public projects could be in areas other than Cornwall. If Labour is serious about helping Cornish communities through these difficult times, it needs to guarantee sizeable investment in projects to deliver real employment-led regeneration where it is needed in Cornwall.

I was a member of the Taskforce set up following the announcement of job losses in the china clay industry in 2006/2007 and consider the response of central government response to these cuts was “inadequate and unhelpful.” Such a response in the coming months could be a disaster for Cornwall’s prospects.

We have written to the Prime Minister and the Chancellor of the Exchequer calling on them to do more to assist Cornish communities now that the recession is really starting to bite.

Monday, 15 December 2008

What a week!

I do feel somewhat guilty for not having updated my blog for three weeks or so. It is not because nothing has been happenning … perhaps the reverse. So, I thought I’d give a quick report on another average week (8th-12th December) for MK’s Party Leader/PPC for St Austell and Newquay.

I did attempt to carry out a full week’s paid employment to pay the bills but also found the time to go to a large number of meetings and events.

On Monday, I gave an evening lecture on the 2005 excavation at St Piran’s Church, Perranzabuloe to St Columb’s Old Cornwall Society.

On Tuesday, it was an evening meeting for the Parish Council’s Finance Committee.

Wednesday was awful – I was invited to four different ‘One Cornwall’-related meetings and managed to attend three. The first of these was a ‘visioning’ session at Roche Victory Hall from 10.00. As you might guess, we had a lot to say about the unitary project. Next was a 3.00 meeting at County Hall where I was in attendance as an employee. There was a presentation on the future of the ‘Environment’ section in the new single tier council. All I will say is that there are a lot of very worried staff members. At 5.30, it was Restormel’s Ceremonial Assets Panel – set up to discuss what happens to robes, trinkets and things after the creation of the unitary council.

I was also able to get to Summercourt for our Parish Council’s monthly Planning Meeting – only ten minutes late. But this meant that I could not get to the County Council’s meeting about the new electoral boundaries – which was actually held in our own Parish at Fraddon. I finished the day off by attending a social event organised by the Truro and Falmouth constituency party of MK – I arrived at 9.40.

Thursday night, there was aa evening meeting at Indian Queens Victory Hall to discuss improvements to the building.

On Friday, I went to the meeting of the Implementation Executive in the morning - not for the faint-hearted. Between 1.00 and 3.00, I took part in a BBC Radio Cornwall debate on Cornish Nationalism with John Angarrack and Philip Payton. So far, this has been very well-received. In the evening, I attended an anti-incinerator meeting in St Dennis before putting in an appearance at the Stannary Parliament’s Christmas meal.

Arrived home at past 11.30 – knackered. Had a restful weekend, though. Had to!