I hope everyone is well this week. We have had a busy few days with the G7 summit and I am very much enjoyed showcasing the very best that Cornwall has to offer on the world stage. Many constituents have contacted me to say they supported the summit, and this is great to hear. However, I do know that some people had reservations about hosting the event due to the current pandemic. I can assure you that the Prime Minister and his team take these concerns very seriously and the event would not have gone ahead if it were deemed to be dangerous to public health. This was a fantastic opportunity for the whole of Cornwall and the legacy of this summit will be of great benefit to everyone who lives here.
I am very pleased that details of the new First Homes scheme have been published including a 30% discount on the market price for local first-time buyers have been published. Other details include a mandate that at least 25% of all affordable housing units must be First Homes – there will also be discounts of up to 50% under certain circumstances. One sticking point that I am sure will please North Cornwall is that the discount will be passed on to future buyers - helping more people in the future. I completely understand the housing pressures that local people in North Cornwall are under, the problems with a lack of good affordable housing were the reasons I stood for the district council and later to be MP in the first place. I regularly raise our local problems with Ministers and I have already held one to one talks with the new Cornwall Council cabinet member for Housing. This great new scheme will benefit people across North Cornwall, as will other schemes designed to help people onto the ladder, but we still have work to do. More information on the scheme and eligibility here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/first-homes.
Finally, EE has confirmed that it will be upgrading its mobile network, including here in North Cornwall. Upgrades to the 4G network are due to be completed in Padstow and other Cornish towns, which will also boost connectivity in the surrounding areas. The enhanced 4G coverage forms an integral part of Britain’s Emergency Services Network (ESN), which is already providing critical communications for some first responder and emergency agencies, allowing them to stay connected whilst they fulfil their vital public safety roles. I hope that this increased coverage will make it easier and more reliable for people to contact the RNLI and other services in the event of an emergency.