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EU Structural Funds: Least Developed Regions — [Siobhain McDonagh in the Chair]

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 2:50 pm on 26th June 2019.

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Photo of Derek Thomas Derek Thomas Conservative, St Ives 2:50 pm, 26th June 2019

I welcome that intervention, but I will continue with my point about the real problem for us in west Cornwall. Quite often, there are two options in Cornwall. One is to go away to university, which is much easier now because we have a university in Cornwall, in the constituency of my hon. Friend Sarah Newton. However, the vast majority of our young people leave Cornwall, in what we describe as a brain drain. The opportunities for those who are left behind are very limited. There is a real need to look at apprenticeships and how further education can be properly funded for the skills and jobs that we need for the future. I believe that Cornwall has a real opportunity to share in that, exploit it and thrive, and I believe that shared prosperity is the solution.

Our group has looked at the role of high streets, and Cornwall Council is running an inquiry into how to make high streets work. They are no longer just about shops; they are about an experience, and where people live. They are places to get support and advice, and they even include workplaces other than shops. Lots of work is being done in communities in all our constituencies in Cornwall on understanding high streets. That is not just so that we can say, “Government, give us money so we can spend it,” but because we want support to make local economies low carbon. We have great talent; now, we need great opportunity.