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Public Services in Cornwall: Funding

Volume 743: debated on Monday 15 January 2024

Motion made, and Question proposed, That this House do now adjourn.—(Aaron Bell.)

It is a great pleasure to bring this debate to the House this evening. It is a particular joy that it has come so early, because it means that I have two hours to talk about my favourite subject—Cornwall. The whole House will be aware that I view Cornwall as a very, very special place—a unique place in many ways. I always count it as an incredible privilege that I was born and raised there, have lived and worked there my whole life, have raised my family there, and now have the joy of seeing my grandchildren grow up there as well.

Clearly, I am not the only one who views Cornwall as a very special and wonderful place. We have seen significant numbers of people choosing to move to Cornwall in recent years, and, of course, around 5 million people every year come on holiday. It is very easy to have that image of Cornwall as a wonderful place to go on holiday—we all have picture postcard images—without understanding that, behind many of those images, individuals, households and indeed businesses face a number of very real challenges.

We are a relatively low-income economy, with higher than average house prices and a number of other factors that make life challenging for many people. It is not just households and businesses that face challenges in Cornwall, but those who seek to deliver our public services as well. I think that we would all agree in this place that funding for public services should be based on two factors: the need or the demand for that service; and the cost of delivering that service locally. I hope to present to the Minister, whom I am pleased to see in his place, some of the issues that are unique to Cornwall. I particularly want to mention the combination of factors that mean that we face of number of very real challenges when it comes to delivering public services in Cornwall. There is a need, I believe, to review and reflect on those challenges when it comes to the allocation of funding for our services in Cornwall.

I congratulate the hon. Member for St Austell and Newquay (Steve Double) on securing this important debate. As a fellow south-west MP, I know that what he is referring to is also reflected in Somerset. Somerset Council is struggling to revive discretionary public services, which it wishes to do because of the current unfair funding method. In the last financial year, rural councils could budget only £77 per head on discretionary services, while urban areas spent more than double that. Does the hon. Member agree that more needs to be done to provide our rural constituents with the services they deserve?

I wonder whether the hon. Lady actually read the subject of the debate, which is specifically about funding and delivering public services in Cornwall. She can make her points in her own debate about her part of the world; I am here to talk about Cornwall this evening.

There is a need to reflect on these challenges and this combination of factors that we face in Cornwall when it comes to the funding that we receive for our public services. My first point is about geography. Cornwall has a unique geography within the British Isles. We are long and narrow peninsula, unlike any other part of the country. We are almost an island. As I have said in this place before, if the River Tamar was 2.5 miles longer, we would actually be an island, and there is many proud a Cornishman who has talked about taking their shovel and finishing the job to create an island. The challenges we face often have more in common with those of an island than with being a part of the mainland.

I see the hon. Member for Strangford (Jim Shannon) wishes to intervene and I will happily give way.

I hope you will be impressed, Mr Deputy Speaker, by the significance and interest of my comments, and how much they tie in with what the hon. Member for St Austell and Newquay (Steve Double) has said. I congratulate the hon. Gentleman on securing the debate. He is my Gaelic cousin, which means that his interests are similar to my own. Has he ever considered working with other regions in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland to help address the matter of public services funding? We have Gaelic cousins in Wales, Scotland and, of course, in Northern Ireland. We are united by culture, history and language, and we have mutual interests. Does the hon. Gentleman agree that our Gaelic strength is better within the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland?

The hon. Member makes a good point, which I will probably come to later. Cornwall has a great deal in common with what gets called the Celtic fringe of the United Kingdom. To pick up on his point about working together, there is a group of local authorities called Britain’s Leading Edge, which represents areas on the coastal fringe of England that work together, because we recognise that the challenges that coastal areas face have some similarities across the country. Clearly there is a lot in common that we can share.

Having said that, our coastline in Cornwall is unique. We are almost an island. I know that we enjoy a bit of banter with Devon from time to time, but they are our only mainland neighbour, which impacts the delivery of services. Counties in the middle of England are surrounded by other local authorities, police forces, fire services and health services that they can share resources with. If there is a particular challenge in one area, it can draw on services from the surrounding counties to help it with that specific incident. We do not have that in Cornwall. In most of Cornwall, we have to provide our own resilience because there is no one else nearby to come and help. I am not sure that that is always understood by Government. It certainly does not seem to get reflected in the funding allocation.

We have the longest coastline in Cornwall: 422 miles. I have not walked all of it yet, but I have walked a great deal of it over the years. We have literally hundreds of small coastal communities. Nowhere in Cornwall is more than 25 miles from the sea, and the vast majority of people live an awful lot closer to it than that. It is just common sense that when delivering a public service in a coastal community, there is not as big a population to deliver that service to, and there is not as much land for people to live on. More sites are therefore needed. By definition, we need more schools, health facilities, police stations and fire stations because we have a smaller area for the station or facility to service. That means that it costs more to deliver services in a coastal area such as Cornwall. I have tried to make that point throughout my time in this place, but I am not sure that the particular challenge that Cornwall faces in delivering services because of our geography and being a narrow peninsula really gets appreciated. It is certainly not reflected in the funding formula.

We are not just a coastal area but a rural one. Cornwall Council is the second biggest by land mass of any local authority in the country—1,375 square miles—yet we have a relatively small population of just over half a million people. We have no towns with a population of more than 25,000. In fact, nearly half of all people who live in Cornwall live in communities of fewer than 3,000. That rurality and sparsity presents real challenges for delivering services because of the additional travelling that has to take place. Our police and fire engines have to travel further to reach those communities.

School travel is a very big challenge in Cornwall. With such large areas to cover, pupils with special educational needs in particular have to travel much further to get to the facilities that we have. We face a huge challenge in adult social care, partly because of the rurality and being a long, narrow peninsular, and the distance that domiciliary care workers have to travel to reach those who need their services.

About 10 years ago, we thought that we had won a big victory on funding for rural services within local government. After a great deal of pressure and arguing from MPs with rural constituencies, the Government introduced the rural services delivery grant. That was really the first time that the emphasis under the Labour Government—when most of the money went into urban and densely populated areas, because they seemed to think that those were the only places in which deprivation took place—had been corrected, with an acknowledgment that rural areas have particular needs and particular costs in delivering those services.

Unfortunately, although we won the argument in principle, when it came to allocating money, it was dampened down and we did not get as much as we should have. In the past 10 years, we have never fully put that right. I suggest to the Government that we really ought to look at that. With the current proposed local government settlement, I know that many rural authorities will face huge challenges. Cornwall is certainly one of them. One way that we could correct that is by increasing the rural services delivery grant to the level it really should be at, rather than the dampened-down level.

We have also been promised a review of police funding in rural areas, but it has not yet happened. Sadly, during that time the gap for Cornwall has actually become bigger. We were 9p per person below the average; we have now dropped to 10p per person below the average for funding. There is therefore a real need to bring forward the review of police funding and ensure that Cornwall gets the funding that it needs. The two factors of being a coastal community and being a rural community really put pressure on the delivery of our services in Cornwall. That needs to be reflected when it comes to funding.

The other element that I will mention is, again, something that I have talked about numerous times: the impact of tourism on Cornwall. Tourism is really important to the Cornish economy, and we welcome it. Typically, 5 million people a year come to Cornwall on holiday. In the UK, we are second only to London in terms of the number of visitors that we welcome every year. To put the impact of that in perspective, I am privileged to represent the town of Newquay, Cornwall’s premier tourist destination, which has a population of about 24,000. In July and August, we have 200,000 people in any given week in Cornwall, so there is eight times the population when tourists come in the peak season.

The pressure that that puts on our infrastructure and services cannot be overestimated. We particularly feel it in the pressure on the NHS. We often say in Cornwall that we have two winters every year in terms of pressure on the NHS. At this time of year, the NHS is under pressure just about everywhere because of seasonal viruses and the impact that cold weather has on people, so there is great pressure on the NHS in Cornwall at this time of year. Then in the summer, when all the tourists come, our NHS is also under huge pressure because of the sheer numbers of people who are there. While most hospitals and NHS services around the country typically have a bit of respite in the summer because all their residents go on holiday, they all come to Cornwall, so we have to pick up the pressure. I do not think that gets reflected particularly in the funding.

The demand on our ambulance services in the summer is also significant. I acknowledge that a lot of work has been done in recent years through the 111 service and Pharmacy First, which we piloted in Cornwall, to get people to think a bit more smartly about where to go to get NHS treatment and advice, rather than turning up at Treliske or trying to see one of our local GPs. That has certainly helped, but there is no way of avoiding the pressure that the NHS in Cornwall faces every summer because of the tourists. Our police face huge pressures in the summer. Crime goes up, and there are more road traffic accidents and cases of antisocial behaviour, all of which the police need to respond to, but that is not reflected in our funding.

Another area, which I recently talked about in a debate, is the impact of tourism on our housing supply and the number of Airbnbs, which push prices up beyond the reach of many people. That means that we struggle to recruit the people we need for our public services because they cannot afford to buy a house to live there. When we talk to NHS managers in Cornwall in particular, they repeatedly say that housing is one of the biggest reasons why they often struggle to recruit the doctors and nurses they need, because they cannot find anywhere to live. The impact that tourism has on our housing market is equally significant.

The final factor I want to mention is our demographics. Cornwall has a rapidly ageing population. Our number of elderly people is 6% higher than the UK average, and the number of over-70s in Cornwall has gone up by 52% in recent years. Some of that is just because everyone is getting older, but it is also because people see Cornwall as a great place to retire to. Again, I do not blame them—I want to retire in Cornwall; it is a great place to retire—but that number of people of retirement age moving to Cornwall puts huge pressure on our health and social care services.

The inverse of that is that we do not have enough people of working age willing to work in the health and social care sector to provide the services they need, so the impact of our demographics is significant. This financial year, Cornwall Council will spend over £250 million on providing adult social care. That is one third of its revenue budget just on social care, and that will only increase as the years go by. We need that to be reflected in the funding settlements we are provided with.

Each of those factors—our geography, the impact of tourism, and the impact of an ageing population—in and of themselves would present significant challenges to Cornwall. The combined effect of those factors is that public services in Cornwall face a unique set of challenges, and nowhere else in the UK faces them to the degree that we do. I want to make the case that, because of that unique combination of pressures and challenges, we need to look again at the funding that Cornwall receives and make a special case for Cornwall.

The Government have already acknowledged that Cornwall is a special place that requires special treatment. We referred earlier to the fact that the Cornish have been recognised as a national minority and receive protected status as a national minority. In 2014, the Council of Europe recognised the Cornish in that way, and the UK Government have acknowledged that. Actually, the UK Government said that they give the Cornish people the same recognition as the Scots, the Welsh and the Irish within the United Kingdom. That is very welcome, but it does not seem to have any impact on Government policy when it comes to funding. If we are going to say that Cornwall is a special place and that the Cornish are a specially recognised and protected people, that should have an impact on the way that Cornwall receives its funding.

Cornwall was the first county to receive a devolution deal back in 2015. Again, the Government at that time recognised the particular uniqueness of Cornwall. That devolution deal was recently upgraded with a new devolution deal. I am personally disappointed that we did not manage to get a level 3 deal, which would have given Cornwall a great deal more and certainly would have shifted the focus much more on to Cornwall. I am disappointed that we did not secure that, but we have had a new level 2 deal. That, again, is the recognition that the Government have given to Cornwall.

The other way the Government have recognised the challenges that Cornwall faces, particularly with regard to our economy, is through the shared prosperity fund, which replaced the European regional development fund. Cornwall received £137 million—far more than any other part of the UK—through the shared prosperity fund. That shows that the Government recognise the particular challenges we face in Cornwall, especially in growing our economy and upskilling our people, and it has been hugely welcome.

We are in the middle of the current round and projects in my constituency have received significant funding, such as essential infrastructure work at the harbour at Charlestown, one of our historical sites. Newquay has also received funding to support its tourism industry and extend the season, which will really help the economy there. We have found that the shared prosperity scheme is much easier to allocate and to access than the old ERDF programmes, which were hugely bureaucratic and always required matched funding. The shared prosperity fund money that has been provided to Cornwall has been very welcome and is doing a lot of good.

However, I want to raise with the Minister the fact that the current round runs out in 2025. That will come around very quickly, so we need to start the conversation and understand what the process will be for the allocation of the next round of shared prosperity funding. I hope the Minister will be able to confirm that, in the allocation of that funding in the next round, the Government will continue to recognise the specific challenges that Cornwall faces and continue to support the Cornish economy as they have done over the last few years.

The unique combination of challenges we face in Cornwall, and the fact that the Government already recognise Cornwall in a number of ways as being special and having particular challenges, now need to be reflected in the way our public services are funded—particularly our health service, education, local government and the police. We need the true cost of delivering those services in Cornwall to be reflected in the amount of money we receive. I hope the Minister has got the message that we have particular challenges in Cornwall and that the Government will reflect on those points, continue the conversations with MPs from Cornwall and look again to ensure that Cornwall gets the funding it needs, so that the people of Cornwall can get the public services they deserve.

I congratulate my hon. Friend and neighbour the Member for St Austell and Newquay (Steve Double) on securing this debate, which is so important to my constituents and people across Cornwall. I do not want to speak for long, but I want to add a bit of localised meat to the bones. I must also disagree with my hon. Friend on one point. My hon. Friend the Member for St Ives (Derek Thomas) and I were at a presentation on Friday on the value of seafood to the Cornish economy, where one of the points made was that an economist had looked at the furthest point from the sea, with particular precision, and had found that nobody in Cornwall is further than 12 miles away from the sea. It is even more coastal than we originally thought—[Interruption.] Yes, on a high tide.

I want to add a little meat to the bones of what my hon. Friend the Member for St Austell and Newquay said. He set out the position on NHS funding very well. Treliske Hospital, the main hospital in my Truro constituency, is the hub for all acute needs for Cornwall. Something the NHS is doing particularly well is to try to spread those services out across the county so that we do not have to have everything happening in Truro.

However, there are particular challenges in places in my constituency, such as Holywell bay on the north coast, or the Roseland peninsula on the south coast. If people on the Roseland peninsula need an ambulance, it has to go across on a ferry before it can get to them. That is how remote it is. Even though it is very close as the bird flies to Falmouth or Truro, the logistics of getting emergency services there are a real challenge for people who live on the peninsula.

I want to make one final point, on special educational needs funding. Based on provisional funding data for 2024-25, Cornwall will receive annual needs funding per child of £724.14. That ranks us 142nd among local authorities. Our statistical neighbours—local authorities with similar characteristics—are due to receive an average of £78.49 per child per year more than Cornwall. In comparison, parents in London boroughs such as Camden, Lewisham, Islington or Westminster can expect their high-needs child to receive something in the region of £2,500 to £3,000.

If Cornwall were to receive the median of everyone else’s funding, it would be worth approximately another £5.4 million to the Cornish local authority, which would therefore be able to provide a much better service for our children. Primarily, as my hon. Friend pointed out, that is down to two things. The first is school transport, because it is very tricky to get a child from those remote places I just mentioned to the school they need to get to, and the second is being able to attract relevant teachers, given the housing challenges that we have talked about in this debate.

I will leave it there for colleagues to reflect on. I join my hon. Friend in his pleas to the Treasury, which he articulated so well, that Cornwall is a special case. We do not like being called a special case for the wrong reasons, but when we have water on three sides—almost four sides—the challenges are real. We have a very competent Conservative-run council in Cornwall, and if it is finding them to be challenges, then we can guarantee that they are very real indeed.

With your permission, Mr Deputy Speaker, I would like to include in this discussion the Council of the Isles of Scilly, which faces exactly the same kind of challenges. I am in the unique position, among my Cornish colleagues, in that I have two unitary authorities seeking to deliver services to my constituents. I will not speak for too long.

I congratulate my hon. Friend the Member for St Austell and Newquay (Steve Double) on securing the debate. He was right to mention the shared prosperity fund and other funds that recognise the particular challenges that Cornwall faces, but those funds do not pay to deliver rural services, so although it is good and absolutely right that we have that money, we must also consider the money that councils get to deliver services.

My hon. Friend talked about the sheer cost of delivering adult social care. In an area where low incomes are often the norm, people do not have huge amounts of money, and they certainly do not have money sitting in the bank, so when they get to an age when they need social care, it is right that the council steps in. For an older population with a lot of deprivation, it is obvious that the council will have to step in, perhaps in more ways than elsewhere.

Cornwall Council and the Council of the Isles of Scilly have been underfunded for years. We know that urbans councils will receive 37% more in Government-funded spending power per head compared with Cornwall Council. As a result of years of underfunding, rural councils such as those of Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly have had to increase council tax to balance the books, resulting in rural residents now paying on average 20% more than people in urban areas. That is particularly challenging for an area where, as I said, our wages are about a third less than the UK average.

As my hon. Friend said, Cornwall Council services cost more to deliver because of our rurality and coastal stretch. I agree with everything that he and my hon. Friend the Member for Truro and Falmouth (Cherilyn Mackrory) said. The Government have not applied the fair funding formula, and that is the crux of what we are talking about here. As we have heard, in 2016, the Government accepted the challenge, accepted that it costs more to deliver rural services, and accepted that fair funding should be delivered across all local authorities, but they have not applied that in full because of damping and concerns about taking money from urban areas, so will the Minister encourage the Minister with responsibility for local government, my hon. Friend the Member for North Dorset (Simon Hoare), to use the rural service delivery grant to make up the shortfall?

After not delivering the fair funding formula, the Government introduced the rural service delivery grant to address the short-changing that Cornwall, the Isles of Scilly and others have faced. If the Minister takes away one thing from the debate and the brilliant points that have been made, it should be to use the rural service delivery grant to address the shortfall until we can deliver the fair funding formula in full. I say that because predominantly urban constituencies will receive £312 per head from central Government, while Cornwall receives £244 per head. That is a real difference for everyone living in Cornwall and seeking to raise a family and make the most of their lives in Cornwall and on Scilly.

As I have said, in 2016, the Government accepted the challenge and recognised that it costs more to deliver rural services. However, as they have not applied the fair funding formula in full, Cornwall Council and the Council of the Isles of Scilly have been underfunded for years. In reality, Cornwall Council now has £77 less per head than an urban authority to deliver services that are vital for every person in our constituencies. Will the Minister take all that has been said back to the Treasury, as well as to the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, and deliver what is only fair for the people of Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly? That is all we are asking.

I congratulate my hon. Friend the Member for St Austell and Newquay (Steve Double) on securing the debate. He is undoubtedly a strong advocate for his corner of the country and for his constituents. I can think of few greater champions for Cornwall, or for the funding of public services there, than him and my hon. Friends the Members for St Ives (Derek Thomas) and for Truro and Falmouth (Cherilyn Mackrory). I very much value my hon. Friends’ contributions, knowledge, and insights on the local issues they have outlined tonight, and I will do my best to address some of their specific concerns.

Dealing first with local government finance, I certainly recognise that inflation is higher than when budgets were set at the last spending review in 2021. This is true on a global scale, and it presents challenges throughout the world and, of course, throughout our constituencies and communities. Reliable, high-quality public services always matter, but they mean even more to us in challenging times such as these, and in dispersed populations and rural and coastal areas where one’s nearest neighbour might be half a mile away, they can be a real lifeline. The Government are working to ensure that those services are well funded: the provisional 2024-25 local government finance settlement makes up to £64.1 billion available to local governments, an increase of up to almost £4 billion in core spending power on last year. In Cornwall, that has resulted in an almost 7% increase in core spending power. My hon. Friends the Members for St Austell and Newquay and for St Ives have pointed to the rural services delivery grant, which is now £95 million, the highest it has ever been. That fund is distributed to the top quartile of authorities, ranked by super-sparsity, but I take my hon. Friends’ point about its scale, and I will be very happy to take that away to my colleagues at DLUHC.

Our coastal communities are vital to the UK’s economic and environmental wellbeing, as well as being home to hundreds of thousands of people, but as my hon. Friend the Member for St Austell and Newquay has pointed out, they face particular challenges. That is why we have supported so many places along our coast, from the beaches of Cornwall to the bays of Stornoway. Eleven of the 12 freeports across the UK are based in coastal areas, with each receiving up to £26 million in Government funding over the next few years, as well as potentially hundreds of millions of pounds in locally retained business rates to upgrade local infrastructure and stimulate regeneration across coastal communities.

My hon. Friends have mentioned the UK shared prosperity fund. I recognise and commend my hon. Friend the Member for St Austell and Newquay for his advocacy for that fund, which has supported many of our coastal communities and provides—as he says— a significant £132 million to Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, reflecting their share of previous European structural funds. Local leaders are already using that money to deliver ambitious plans for what they call good growth, while the Government have allocated almost £100 million to the towns fund and the future high streets fund to support Cornwall Council’s ambitions to encourage more economic regeneration and strengthen pride in place. I know that my hon. Friend would like more certainty on the future of the UK shared prosperity fund, which he has asked for tonight. While I hope he can understand that I cannot give him that certainty right now, I recognise his council’s enthusiasm to build on the strong start it has made, and I know he will continue to be a very strong advocate on behalf of his council in this place.

Recognising the importance of transportation in rural areas such as Cornwall to help boost productivity, we have also committed some £32.5 million to local highways maintenance and funding potholes. We went further in the spring Budget last year, with an extra £5 million for that endeavour. Through Network North, further funding totalling £3.6 million has been committed to Cornwall in both 2023 and 2024, with later allocations still to be determined. It is not just Cornwall’s roads that we are funding: last year, we awarded Cornwall Council £50 million from the levelling-up fund for the Mid Cornwall Metro. That transport project will provide new hourly direct train services to improve the current links between four of Cornwall’s largest urban areas, so as well as enjoying some of the best views one can get from a train anywhere in the country, residents will be better connected to employment, education and key services. Local leaders have pushed for that metro service, and this Government are very happy to support it, because we are committed to giving more power to local leaders—who, after all, know the needs of their areas almost as well as the local MPs do.

To that end, the recent level 2 devolution deal for Cornwall, announced at the autumn statement of 2023, provides Cornwall with new funding and powers to support local services. This will help Cornwall to maintain the skills that local people need and help bring clean energy to the region’s shores. There were initially discussions, as my hon. Friend pointed out, about a level 3 deal, which would have seen a directly elected Mayor introduced with further powers and an investment fund. However, as he pointed out, Cornwall Council decided that a level 2 deal was preferable at this point in time, and I of course completely respect that decision. After all, it is up to local people to decide and for us to support them, and that is what we have done on this deal and on other local matters of importance.

My hon. Friend mentioned policing. Because of decisions taken by this central and local government, funding for the policing system will rise nationally by some £842 million in 2024-25, distributed according to population sparsity. Devon and Cornwall police will receive up to £230 million in core settlement grants, but I appreciate what he said about the police funding formula. He will know that a review commenced in 2021, which is continuing to carry out engagement. He may wish it to speed up, and I know he will make representations to my colleagues at the Home Office accordingly.

My hon. Friend was completely right to point out the great many people who in recent times have wanted not just to visit Cornwall but to set up a home and raise a family there. Demand for housing is therefore increasing from permanent and part-time residents who want to buy. However, a lack of affordable housing is causing acute concern—house prices are high relative to incomes when compared nationally—and we understand that. The temporary and emergency accommodation budget has also become increasingly strained in recent years. To address that concern, the Government are committed to building more affordable homes. As recommended at the 2021 spending review, we are investing £11.5 billion between 2021 and 2026 through the affordable homes programme, which is the largest cash investment we have seen in a decade. I also note that Cornwall Council has been supportive of Government plans to enable local authorities to increase the council tax premium on second homes by up to 100%. It is believed that this could provide £20 million of additional revenue. There is always more to do of course, so it is critical that we continue to have open conversations as we are doing tonight.

Finally, let me address the comments on SEND from my hon. Friend the Member for Truro and Falmouth. Nationally, the Government are committed, and have committed, to addressing this. At the last spending review, we committed £2.6 billion to create 30,000 new school places for young people with SEND. It is our hope that this will lead to fewer people having to be transported long distances, as she described, to access the right educational settings. Again, there is more to do, and I know that the Department for Education, which leads on this policy area, is progressing more wholesale reforms of the SEND system. I would be happy to have the relevant Minister from the Department for Education write to her on Cornwall specifically.

I have spoken at length about what we are doing for Cornwall, but let me finish by recognising Cornwall’s contribution to our country. I would not be the first MP from Grantham to recognise its virtues. Were I to walk on the sandy shores of Constantine bay, I would be following in the very large footsteps of a certain greengrocer’s daughter, although I am reliably informed that Watergate bay in the constituency of my hon. Friend the Member for St Austell and Newquay is also worth a visit. Cornwall is not just home to incredible natural beauty, delicious pasties, irresistible ice cream and thrilling surfing. More importantly, it is home to some of the finest people our country has ever known. While I have listed the many facts and figures set out by this Government, we should never forget that behind them are thousands of wonderful Cornish people. They could not be better represented than by my hon. Friend, whom I look forward to continuing to work with long into the future.

Question put and agreed to.

House adjourned.