I was very pleased to learn that colleagues in Government have signed off an allocation of £10,000,000 to Cornwall as part of the devolution deal. This funding will remain in place regardless of how the Council votes on the rest of the proposal. £7,000,000 will be allocated to housing schemes, with a grant of £5,650,000 allocated to Phase 2 of the housing scheme at St Lawrence, Bodmin. The grant funding ensures the scheme proceeds without further delay to deliver the approved 100 new houses and avoids creating a long-term financial burden on Treveth and the Council by excessive loan-to-value debt funding. The remaining £3,000,000 will go to heritage projects in Cornwall, including a grant for intoBodmin CIC to complete their purchase of the historic Grade II Listed Passmore Edwards Library in Bodmin, the foundation of a total redevelopment of the Old Library that will transform the building into a cultural and community hub with co-working and community business workspace, a rear vegetable garden, café, and outdoor performance space. Over £500,000 has already been raised by intoBodmin CIC who have established themselves as a key connector in the town, working in partnership with many other businesses and community organisations to bring about projects that support community cohesion, improve wellbeing, and revitalise the town centre.
Back British Farming Day was held during the week, and I was proud to demonstrate my support for North Cornwall’s farmers and growers and celebrate the high-quality food they produce. The day was also a celebration and appreciation of a job ranked by the British public as one of the most important and well-respected professions, second only to nursing. To mark the occasion, I wore the emblem of Back British Farming Day during Prime Minister’s Questions; a wheatsheaf pin badge made of wool and wheat sourced from UK farms. As a food-loving nation, the work our farmers do is not only a vital part of the country’s social fabric but also a valuable contributor to our local and national economies, with food and farming worth more than £127 billion to the economy and employing more than 4 million people nationwide. Amidst a changing and often challenging landscape, North Cornwall’s farmers have continued to persevere and provide the food for our tables. This is why I fully support the Back British Farming campaign. The Government has also recently awarded £433,539 to farmers in North Cornwall who applied for the first round of Animal Health and Welfare Equipment and Technology grants, part of the Farming Investment Fund. These grants, for sums between £1,000 and £25,000, will help farmers to invest in items ranging from livestock handling equipment to reduce lameness in sheep and cattle, to automated monitoring systems that free-up farmers’ time and limit environmental stress in poultry housing.