In My View… by Lesley Carty, Secretary, South-East Cornwall CLP
Those of us who live in South-East Cornwall are blessed with a beautiful place to live and work – but beneath the surface is a different story for many. Picturesque landscapes are all very well, but seasonal, part-time work and low wages mean that many of us struggle just to make ends meet, while small businesses and the self-employed are often not much better off.
A couple of weeks ago the Cornish Times reported on someone whose only way to get to work on public transport meant two hours of travel, via two buses and a ferry, for what is normally a 20 minute journey. The lack of public transport, and the closure of schools, banks and post offices are making life harder for the elderly, disabled and all those without a car – no wonder stress, isolation and loneliness are on the increase.
In fact, Cornwall is one of the poorest regions in the whole of northern Europe. So poor in fact, that when the European Union shares out the money that the UK as a whole pays in, we are one of the areas that benefits. Between 2014 and 2020, Cornwall will receive over £800 per person from the EU Structural and Investment Fund – a similar amount to that received by Romania and Bulgaria. On top of that, our farmers also benefit from EU subsidies. Cornwall Council has calculated that, including match funding, we could lose £1.1 billion from Cornwall unless the government guarantee to replace funding following the United Kingdom’s vote to leave the European Union. And to date, there has been no such guarantee.
Like the population at large, our members have a wide range of views on the European Union and the many ways it affects our lives. We are agreed about one thing, however. We need South East Cornwall MP Sheryll Murray to tell all of us how she is working to support Cornwall’s interests and secure guaranteed levels of transitional funding from central Government to replace EU grants and funding for Cornwall.
First published in The Cornish Times, 27/07/2018