Last Wednesday I was at the Conservative Party Conference in Manchester when the Prime Minister delivered his keynote speech. As one of the new intake of Conservative MPs I was given a front row seat so I was able to soak up the atmosphere and be close to the action.
The Prime Minister’s speech reminded me why I became a Conservative and why I am so honoured to be representing our constituency. He spoke of One Nation Conservatism, of a belief that everyone should have equality of opportunity and the chance to fulfil their ambitions and aspirations whatever their background. For too long the people of Cornwall have not enjoyed that equality of opportunity, it is time for this to change and this is one of the main reasons I got involved in politics.
I attended Poltair School in St Austell, not Eton. From there I went to work for Barclays Bank in Newquay and St Austell. I didn’t go to university, let alone the spires of Oxford. I went on to work for a church then started my own business before getting involved in politics just a few years ago. This county has given me opportunities and I have taken them. This is what I want this Government to offer to all the people of mid-Cornwall, and what I will fight for in the next 5 years.
One of the key drivers of social mobility and opportunity is education. The Conservative Party is working to change the education system for the better, by creating more Free Schools and academies. There is already a successful shift so that more children are studying maths and science, more are learning computer coding and engineering, and more are doing the extra-curricular activities that teach confidence and build character. We have exciting developments across our schools in mid-Cornwall and I will continue to support this change.
The Prime Minister announced a change to housing policy; more affordable homes will now be made available to buy rather than rent. He talked of a generation of 20 and 30 year olds living in their childhood bedrooms and I know that this is true for many people in our constituency, including my own family. The level of wages and salaries in Cornwall, accompanied by the high prices driven by second homeowners, makes the affordability of housing more of a challenge for our young people than it is in other areas of the UK. I welcome any policy shift that will help to address this issue.
The unemployment rate in Cornwall continues to fall, but this masks a problem of under-employment. This is our next employment challenge. We have graduates working in seasonal jobs just to get by, the type of jobs that their degrees prepared them for are rare or non-existent in Cornwall. Our next task is to increase investment in our economy, we should be supporting existing local businesses, encouraging new businesses to start and attracting businesses from upcountry. It is time for Cornwall to fulfil its economic potential, to raise our sights and grasp the opportunities ahead.
The building blocks of policy are in place, change is happening and we have everything to strive for. So, let’s work together to improve the prosperity of everyone in our constituency and our county, one and all.