Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Supporting local businesses and jobs

Re-balancing our economy onto a more sustainable footing is a vitally important aim for the Coalition Government. This means encouraging and supporting more jobs in enterprises that produce food, energy and make products for ourselves as well as exporting to the parts of the world that have growing economies. As your MP my role is to help create the best possible environment for local businesses to grow – removing obstacles in their way.

For some time I have been working with colleagues in Parliament from across the peninsula on a bid for the SW to become the UK’s first Marine Energy Park. The UK is currently leading the world in developing energy form waves and tides and I want to make sure that the good ideas and viable prototypes designed and engineered in Cornwall are scaled up into commercially viable energy production. I am delighted with the support and investment that the Government announced last week. 

The port of Falmouth will be making a significant contribution to the development of marine energy – including the manufacture, installation and maintenance of off-shore wind turbines.

With a week firmly focussed on supporting local businesses and jobs, I joined debates on the reform of Business Rates and innovation in ways local authorities such as Cornwall Council could support local businesses. Since being elected I have worked with town centre managers and retailers to help the Government understand the impact of the current Business Rate regime on our town centres future prosperity. The reforms, should they become law this year, will enable more local decision-making and opportunities for Cornwall Council to support local businesses of all types.

On Friday I joined the debate and voted to support a private members bill that called upon the Government to do a thorough review of the benefits or otherwise of changing British Summer Time, so that we have lighter evenings throughout the year. I have been contacted by many constituents who want to see this change and some who don’t. Benefits include reduced road traffic accidents, a boost for tourism and people enjoying sports and outdoor pursuits. Despite the fact there was support from a wide range of organisations and professions, all political parties and from across the UK, the bill was talked out by a persistent group of ten MPs.

Road safety is another issue of considerable concern to constituents. 

Depending on the issue, I have taken up their concerns with Cornwall Council or Ministers. Concerns ranged from the need for more 20 mph speed limits in villages to worries about changes to the MOT regime and the desire to see bicycles and motor bikes into bus lanes going into Truro. I have also made representations to members of the Transport Select Committee and am pleased to report they are undertaking a comprehensive review into road safety.

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