Last week I attended a small business energy and cost of living drop-in in Parliament hosted by Smart Energy GB, Citizens Advice, the British Chambers of Commerce, Digital Boost, Business Debtline and Enterprise Nation. These organisations have developed tips, advice, and information to support small businesses. A lot has been said and done to help struggling families as the cost of living has put extraordinary pressure on household finances. In contrast, little has been done to help small businesses, who have faced unprecedented upheaval, uncertainty and disruption since the covid pandemic took hold in March 2020. It’s true that most (not all) received grants and help with wage bills and energy, but the pressures of forced closure followed by rapid reopening, difficulties in getting supplies due to the high demand forcing price rises, along with difficulties recruiting and retaining workers leading to higher wage bills, followed by the energy price rise and the squeeze on customer budgets has been unprecedented and a constant strain for business owners. We expect these small businesses to be there for us when we need them and are surprised when they disappear. This has been our experience for many town centre shops over decades and I’m acutely aware that many other businesses will be lost if more isn’t done to help them. Small businesses provide the majority of the jobs in Cornwall and on Scilly so the impact of job losses could be significant. I’m doing what I can with colleagues in Parliament to press the Chancellor to increase help for small businesses in his Autumn Budget. In the meantime, If you're a small business that needs advice or support, please use the link below:
Following feedback from passengers, the rail industry has today announced that they are giving more time for the consultation on changes to ticket offices. The consultation will now close on Friday 1 September 2023. Thank you to everyone who has already responded. If you haven't had the chance to please do so before 1st September using the link: http://www.gwr.com/haveyoursay
I’m hopeful that we have demonstrated a high level of support for the Penzance ticket office and the staff and that good arguments are made in support of a dedicated ticket office. I’m privileged in the fact that I can and will continue to work with GWR and rail operators and the RMT on behalf of all those who use Penzance Station. A ticket office and the opportunity to engage with a real person should not be an exception, but rather an ordinary part of planning and making a rail journey.
This week, after years of graft by many in St Ives we celebrate the transfer of Edward Hain Community Hospital to a community organisation. It’s ironic as the building was formerly owned by the people of St Ives before being absorbed into the NHS in 1948. We did what we could to retain it as a Community Hospital so now, as a community health and care hub where plans are to integrate all sorts of services, we have retained an important building for the community to support good health and care close to people’s homes. I’m so grateful to all those who have persisted with this, despite the odds, especially the Friends of Edward Hain and St Ives Town Council.