Nigel Huddleston MP, Tourism Minister, joined me over the weekend to understand a little more how tourism businesses have fared - during lockdown, after July 4th and as we head into the winter. We discussed the very effective work of our local Tourism Recovery Group chaired by Cllr Linda Taylor and myself, which helped businesses to prepare for the season and open safely, fed into Government guidance regarding opening of the holiday industry and worked to reassure local residents that we could open up safely. We discussed in detail (on a walkabout around St Ives) what we are doing locally to extend the season with Visit Cornwall and the need for Government to find bespoke ways to support the industry, especially parts that have not been able to open at all, through to April 2021.
The Alcohol Harm Commission launched its report last week following a lengthy inquiry. I played a small part as a commissioner taking evidence from experts and people who have experienced alcohol harm. The scale of harm directly attributed to alcohol is startling. Alcohol misuse is a significant contributor to family breakdown, is the cause of 80 deaths each day and, on average, 33 people are diagnosed with an alcohol-related cancer every day. Sales of alcohol provides £12bn to the Treasury but the report sets out clearly that the cost to society can be as much as £52bn each year. I’ll enjoy a glass of wine at weekends and the occasional pint in a pub. There is no appetite amongst the commission to restrict ‘safe’ alcohol consumption but we are concerned that, when an individual develops a drink problem, stigma and a lack of access to effective treatment and therapies result in a host of difficulties that, sadly, we see too much of in modern society. Recommendations include reduced advertising at peak times and minimum unit pricing which ensures alcohol cannot be sold in supermarkets lower than a price set through legislation. The report makes clear recommendations that are worthy of Government consideration. https://ahauk.org/commission-on-alcohol-harm-report/
This week’s coronavirus announcement regarding changes to restrictions impact Cornwall just as much as other parts of the UK. The reality is that cases of coronavirus are significantly lower than other parts of the UK but sadly the disease has increased across the Duchy from 2 in every 100,000 being diagnosed over 7 days in the summer to 14 in every 100,000 last week. Hopefully we will all abide by the revised guidance and see an end to the spread of this dreadful disease.
MPs continued this week to debate the UK Internal Markets Bill. Legislation that will ensure that internal trade, that has functioned seamlessly for centuries, can continue to do so if we fail to secure a Free Trade Deal with the EU. The only real contentious aspect is the risk of breaching the conditions of the Treaty (Withdrawal Agreement) voted through in January. Parliament has a further vote should this legislation be needed.