In the spring of 2015 there were over 600 fewer people claiming Jobseekers Allowance in Truro and Falmouth than were when I was elected in 2010. This is the result of a jobs push which has seen over 2 million new jobs created in the UK over the past four years.
I want this progress to continue, and to see Cornwall at the forefront of the march towards a full employment economy. Unemployment here (2%) is already significantly below the UK average. I want to see more home grown food, home generated energy and home made goods and services created here and sold across the UK and the growing economies of the world.
We can deliver this by giving people the skills that businesses creating new jobs need their employees to have. Apprenticeships are crucial, since 2010 over 3,610 new apprenticeships have been created in our constituency of Truro and Falmouth, in sectors that range from accountancy to shipbuilding. We must create many more and ensure that people of all ages can acquire new skills for new employment opportunities.
We must also support the great local businesses that are creating jobs. A range of policies, including doubled small business rate relief, an employment allowance worth £2000 and reduced red tape are already helping businesses grow. I want to go further and to see businesses get more for the business rates they pay, and to benefit more directly from the £500 million of taxpayer funding Cornwall is getting through the EU funding programmes. Along with my colleagues, I ensured that the government has confirmed that the EU funding that Cornwall would have received up to 2020 had we remained within the EU will continue.
These is a wide range of support and funding opportunities for businesses in Cornwall that can be accessed through the one stop Cornwall & Isles of Scilly Growth Hub:
Wages in Cornwall have been growing too slowly, increasing just above inflation over the past decade. This progress must accelerate and I am a keen supporter of the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership’s campaign for a Cornish Living Wage. I will continue to push for wage increases and getting the cost of living down.