Friday, 29 June 2012

Cornwall & IOS Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) Strategy Launch

Cornwall and Isles of Scilly LEP is one of 39 LEPs across England. A partnership between the private and public sectors, LEPs are tasked with helping to shape the economic strategy for their area, undertaking activities to drive growth and the creation of local jobs. Their business strategy launch took place on 28 June and you can view highlights here:

Falmouth BID Team Represents Cornwall at National Conference

Thursday, 28 June 2012

Exporting for Growth Seminar

I am looking forward to speaking at this event, organised jointly by my office and United Kingdom Trade and Investment (UKTI) on 1 August at the Tremough Campus.

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

3p Rise in Fuel Duty Scrapped

I am delighted that the Chancellor answered my question to him earlier today by announcing the scrapping of the 3p rise in Fuel Duty. This is great news for everyone in Cornwall.

Young Mums Will Achieve Graduation Ceremony to be held at Chacewater

Celebration of Success for Cornwall’s Social Workers

Cornwall’s Virtual School First in Country to achieve Healthy Schools Award

 This is a real achievement for Cornwall

Olympic Torch in Cornwall Evaluation

Cornwall Development Company has undertaken an evaluation of the Torch
Relay. The basis for this report is:

• An evaluation of four surveys that were distributed to key individuals for
completion post event
• Spectator estimates undertaken on the day
• Comprehensive evaluation of the media coverage undertaken by Excess
Energy PR who work with Falmouth BID

Key Points
• The Olympic Torch Relay travelled through Cornwall on May 19th 2012 starting
at Land’s End at 7am and crossing the Tamar Bridge sometime after 8pm
• The flame was on view in 21 Communities all of who had their own
community celebrations
• 188,500 spectators came out to view the torch. The numbers exceed
expectations and was approximately 35% of Cornwall’s population
• The Relay influenced approximately £3.77M in spectator spend in the
Communities on Route
• 1 Billion worldwide viewers was predicted, with the China and Japan
broadcasts meeting this alone
• £5,665,912 Advertising Value Equivalent (this is a conservative estimate with
only significant articles recorded and does not include all international print
media due to limited access to these publications)
• £16,997,735 PR Value
• 240 reporters, photographers and film crews from around the world including
Japan, China, Australia, Brazil, France, America, South America, Asia, Russia,
Poland, Finland, Hungary and the Netherlands were present at the start of the
relay at Land’s End
• Over 50% of businesses thought that the Torch Relay was of great importance
to the image of Cornwall
• Over 2,000 tweets using the #DayOne2012
• 36% increase in international visitors to Cornwall’s official online visitor guide
was experienced in the days post event
• Between 14 and 22 May there was an increase of 13,026 additional visits to
the VisitCornwall website based on the same week in 2011
• 79,074 views of the Cornwall Torch Relay Google Map were recorded

I am sure you will agree that the Cornwall Development Company and all those involved deserve a large vote of thanks and congratulations for organising such a great event which will have a lasting and positive legacy for Cornwall.

Cornwall from Above

I congratulate English Heritage on their new free website containing an archive of aerial photos of historic buildings and landmarks in Britain. You may be particularly interested to learn that Cornwall is featured, with over 174 images included.  This is a fascinating resource and worthy of further publicity.

Monday, 25 June 2012

Solving the Maths Problem - new RSA report published

English maths education is not fit for purpose and is damaging the UK’s competitiveness, according to a new report by the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA) published on Friday. Solving the Maths Problem shows how English maths education has fallen behind other OECD countries with one in four adults considered functionally innumerate.

I welcome any comments on this report, particularly from teachers or parents, please email me at

Phoenix Stroke Appeal Reaches Milestone

I am delighted to see that the Royal Cornwall Hospital’s Phoenix Appeal continues to progress towards its £500,000 target

Friday, 22 June 2012

The Fal Estuary

We are all profoundly attached to our place, this place, the space we share with our families and neighbours. In Cornwall we are blessed with spaces teeming with wildlife and famed for their natural beauty. However this gives rise to a particular challenge- the need to balance living and working within such a special environment whilst conserving it for future generations.

This balance is something that I know most of my constituents care a great deal about. While some say that we can't have economic growth without damaging the environment, that we have to preserve the environment at all costs, I agree with the Chairman of the Environment Agency, Lord Smith when he recently said green is as important as growth. The environment matters and good stewardship goes hand in hand with sustainable growth. Research shows most people and most companies understand that good regulation, intelligently implemented, is good for business, people and the environment.

At the moment there are a number of plans for the Fal Estuary that bring this issue alive. As with any proposed development either on the land or in our maritime environment, understandably passions can run high. What is important to me is that people base their opinion on evidence not just hear say. I have been organising and participating in meetings to discuss the future of the Fal with all stakeholders over a long period of time and will continue to do everything I can to ensure information and evidence is available to aid the debate and decisions.

My family have lived on the Fal estuary for generations and I hope will do so for many more to come. During my lifetime as we have all learned more about the importance of protecting our natural environment, I have seen vast improvements to the water quality of the Fal. When I was a child we swam in raw sewage off local beaches and witnessed the flooding of old mine workings into the Fal with some devastating effects. The paint I use to protect the old wooden hull of my sailing boat contains chemicals far less harmful than used by ship builders, fishermen and sailors alike years ago. The shell fish, including oysters and mussels are thriving. The Environment Agency should be congratulated for the work they do to protect and enhance the water quality of the estuary which is so essential to the habitats that are thriving here.

They in turn depend on large numbers of people, farmers, fishermen and other businesses as well as volunteers and conservationists to help look after the water courses and land around the estuary. I think there is reason to be hopeful that a balance between people, business and the environment can be achieved in the Fal. However this balance can only be achieved if all viewpoints are heard and respected, and final judgements are made on the basis on evidence not prejudice.

Send My Friend to School

I am pleased to see this campaign gaining pace, having received further colourful representations from pupils at Truro High School for Girls this week

Thursday, 21 June 2012

The ROC-Welcome Truro Annual BBQ

I am looking forward to attending Robert Owen Communities (ROC)’s annual summer barbeque and welcome event on 18 July.

Around 200 – 250 people are expected at the ROC-Welcome social club annual fundraising  barbecue and disco for people with a learning disability, their friends and families.

This long established (former Gateway) club was taken over by ROC at the beginning of the year and a renewed scope and dynamic is being introduced.

Representatives from Treyew school, the Malabar community centre and ROC staff both from head office and the charity’s Boscawen Farm, Blackwater, are expected to attend. As well as the new Mayor of Truro, along with representatives of the local Lions and Rotary clubs in support.

The barbeque will be held at Treyew Primary School, Albany Road, Malabar Estate, Truro TR1 3PQ, on Wednesday  18 July  between 7-9pm

For more information see

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

National Campaign to Tackle Loan Sharks Launched in Cornwall

I have worked closely with Truro Citizens Advice Bureau and Ministers to fight loan-sharks, and this recent national campaign, launched in Cornwall, did a great job of highlighting these important issues.

New Community Safety Website Launched

New Community Safety Website Launched

Safer Cornwall, the community safety partnership for Cornwall, has launched a new safer cornwall website to give easily accessible information to the public about all things community safety, including crime, anti-social behavior, road safety and problem alcohol use, and to highlight the joint working that is going on to help Cornwall be a safe place for all.

SPLASH Arts Festival Takes Shape

I am really looking forward to the new arts festival that the Falmouth Business Improvement District (BID) is funding and co-ordinating for September. Quirky, original and innovative, the festival will celebrate the artistic diversity of Falmouth in as many creative ways as possible.

Monday, 18 June 2012

Faster and More Frequent Trains Vital

Report on the Care of Older People in Hospitals and Care Homes

The Commission on Dignity in Care for Older People is today publishing its final report on the care of older people in hospitals and care homes. A copy of the report is available online here.

I welcome this report and today have written to Ministers backing up The Commission’s recommendations and calls for action.

Friday, 15 June 2012

OFT Report Supports Need for Action on Rural Fuel Prices

This is a step in the right direction and I will continue to press Ministers on getting a fair deal for rural people for fuel prices.

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Working to improve Cornwall's transport links

Last week marked the culmination of twelve months of determined work to ensure that the Rail Minister understands the importance of our rail services to the local economy and the quality of life of local residents.

Later this year the Government will award a franchise to train operators to provide rail services for the next 15 years. As our rail services concern all parts of the south west, I have been working with colleagues of all political parties to make sure that we get the best possible deal for Cornish rail customers and secured and led a Parliamentary debate on this issue just before Christmas.

Further to these efforts I was pleased that last week the Minister visited Truro, Falmouth and Penryn rail stations and travelled up and down our beautiful Maritime Line.

The Government is making the largest investment in railways in living memory and I am determined that new franchise builds on these improvements, ensuring that Cornwall’s rail services do not miss out.  Some progress has already been made- last year I was pleased to help secure additional carriages for the popular Maritime Line. 

During the Minister’s visit last week I made the case for further improvements to her, improvements that include a daily express service to London that could see journey times cut to less than four hours to enable business people and other travellers to get to London and back in the same day. I am pleased by the considerable support that has been expressed for the creation of such a service, in addition to existing services.

Truro station car park desperately needs a new surface and lighting and I pushed for this too, along with the need to retain our cherished sleeper services.

The Minister listened with interest to these arguments and was able to confirm that the sleeper service would be part of the new 15 franchise.

Further good news for Cornwall’s transport is that last week Cornwall Council secured significant investment from the Government to improve bus services from Truro to towns in South East Cornwall, improvements that will see improved cycle lanes and car parking to train and bus connections, aimed at making public transport a real alternative to the car for more people.

While these important improvements are designed and delivered, many readers will be reliant upon road transport to get around the county and get goods to market. Despite the dreadful weather the huge support for the Royal Cornwall Show underlines the importance of food and drink manufacturing to the Cornish economy. Since being elected I have made common cause with colleagues around the country who also represent remote and rural constituencies who pay much higher than the average road fuel bills. I referred this problem to the OFT to investigate. Last week their report concluded that there was a problem and a range of solutions. I will be rigorously perusing this with the various parts of government and the OFT. Fair fuel prices for Cornwall will continue to be a top priority.

Tax System that Encourages Empty Homes Changed

This is a good step in the right direction to create much needed accommodation for people in Cornwall.

Cornwall chosen for trial to provide early learning and care for two year olds

I am pleased to see that Cornwall Council has been chosen by the Government to run a trial to provide free early learning and care places for disadvantaged two year olds.

Thirtieth Anniversary of Falklands liberation

Today’s thirtieth anniversary of the liberation of the Falkland Islands is an opportunity to remember all those who lost their lives in this conflict and to look forward to what the future holds for the Falklands.

It’s a time to pay tribute to the 255 UK servicemen who paid the ultimate price so that the people of the Falkland Islands could live in peace and in freedom. And it’s a time to express our huge debt of gratitude to all those servicemen who showed such astonishing courage to recapture the Islands. Their bravery reminds us that freedom is only won, and peace is only kept, because there are exceptionally brave people willing to journey to the other side of the world to lay their lives on the line.

Our resolve to support the Falkland Islanders has not wavered in the last thirty years and it will not in the years ahead. For the last 180 years, ten generations have called the Falkland Islands home and have strived hard to secure a prosperous future for their children. And despite the aggressive threats from over the water, they are succeeding. The Falklands economy is growing, the fishing industry is thriving and tourism is flourishing. Next year’s referendum will establish the definitive choice of the Falkland Islanders once and for all. And just as we have stood up for the Falkland Islanders in the past, so we will in the future.

I was privileged to attend a service to mark the 30th anniversary of the Falklands conflict, organised by the Falmouth branch of the Royal Naval Association (RNA) earlier this year.

Cornwall Renewable Energy Show 2012

I am pleased to see the return of the Cornwall Renewable Energy Show on 26-27 July at the Former Gaia Centre, Delabole
Organised by Cornwall Council, the 2011 Cornwall Renewable Energy Show was a great success with over 60 exhibitors and nearly 1,500 visitors.
Based on the success of last year’s show, this year’s event will feature a full range of renewable energy technologies including wind, solar, hydro and geothermal. A range of electric cars will be displayed and free tours of the adjacent wind farm will be available.

The event will take place at the former Gaia Centre, Delabole directly adjacent to the UK’s first commercial wind farm, in a large purpose built renewable energy interpretation and visitor centre with excellent refreshment, access and parking facilities

For more information see:

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Truro Olympics Success!

I am delighted to see that young fencers from Truro have been selected to compete at the forthcoming London 2012 Olympic Games.

Monday, 11 June 2012

Transport Minsiter Visits Fal Line

I was pleased to meet the Transport Minister last week and personally show her the beautiful Fal Line, while putting the case for improvements to the line as part of the new southwest rail franchise:

Friday, 8 June 2012

Welcoming action to tackle forced marriage

Today the Prime Minister announced a package of measures intended to help victims of forced marriage, and to prevent individuals in the future being forced into marital unions against their will.

This action is welcome- forced marriage is an often hidden problem which has marred the lives, and impinged the freedom, of people across the UK. Statistics from the Forced Marriage Unit show that forty five percent of recently identified cases of forced marriage involve victims under the age of eighteen, the youngest individual being only five years old.

The Government will now place legislation before Parliament which would render forced marriage a criminal offence, this action being complemented by increased investment in the education and safeguarding teams best placed to spot the earliest signs of forced marriage. This twofold approach is intended to deter parties that may bring a forced marriage about, and ensure that any signs of such activity are detected quickly and the appropriate action, newly supported in law, is taken.

In parallel with this the Forced Marriage Unit will be given all the support they need to continue their work of assisting victims of forced marriage, domestically and in cases involving British nationals abroad. 

This package of measures form part of the Government’s wider commitment to tackle violence against women and girls.  The UK is now a signatory to the Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence and Ministers will continue to pursue policies that, in addition to providing enhanced support for victims, criminalize activities, for too long tolerated, that harm women and girls.

The Government has my full support at it continues to take decisive action to address practices that are intolerable in the twenty first century and  that continue to blight the lives of far too many women and girls in the UK.

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Devoran Gig praised during Jubilee Flotilla

I was delighted to be able to watch constituents row the Devoran Pilot Gig, Fear Not, in the Thames Flotilla during Jubilee Celebrations over the weekend.

Rail Minister visits Maritime Line

I was pleased to have the opportunity to travel down the beautiful Maritime Line with the Minister and outline to her the need for changes that will make a real difference to the journeys of Cornwall’s rail passengers and boost our connectivity with other parts of the UK.
It is important the new rail franchise builds on the improvements recently made by First Great Western whilst meeting the challenges of rail electrification.
I will continue to campaign for better rail services for my constituents, and look forward to in due course working closely with the successful bidder to ensure that changes are effectively implemented.

Potential Boost for Cornish Geothermal Energy

I welcome the recently published report ‘Geothermal Potential for Great Britain and Northern Ireland’ outlining the potential of geothermal energy in the UK, and the potential key role Cornwall could play. See the article from the Falmouth Packet, linked to below, for more information

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Jubilee Weekend Celebrations

I was delighted to be able to attend the Florence Place Jubilee Street Party on 4 June, where I met John Forster, an Olympic Torchbearer who ran with the torch in Falmouth in May.  This was such a well-organised and fun occasion, and thanks should go to organisers Tony and Sally Robinson, as well as all the residents who made it such a memorable event.

Photograph credit to Caroline Robinson of Clear Mapping Co