The G7 summit, due to be held in Cornwall in June, should be a springboard for an economic blueprint to revive the county, after years of neglect by central government, Unite the union, has said.

Unite said that Cornwall, with 17 of the most deprived wards in the country, had been badly hit by the lack of government support for the coronavirus-hit tourist economy and the shortfall in funding for local government.

Unite said that the G7 summit of the leaders of the world’s top economies at the scenic Carbis Bay was a unique opportunityto develop an economic template for the country’s development.

Since the pandemic started, Unite has highlighted a roll-call of job losses that have included those at Cornwall Council, Cornwall Airport, St Austell Brewery, the Eden Project and PALL Aerospace.

Unite regional officer Deborah Hopkins said: “The news that the G7 summit is going to be held at Carbis Bay is very welcome, after a dreadful year for the Cornish economy when the pandemic shortened the vital holiday season.

“Already Cornwall Airport is excited as it will provide the aviation logistics for the summit, and our hardworking members at the airport are celebrating at the announcement and keen to get going as soon as possible. Visit Cornwall has estimated that it will generate £50 million.

“But the summit should not be seen as a ‘one-off’ event after the world leaders and their entourages depart, instead it must be used as a springboard for an economic blueprint for the next decade.

“The government’s support schemes are not generous enough for businesses to survive until the restrictions are eased and woefully inadequate for many people forced to survive on statutory sick pay of £95.85-a-week. Many employers are telling already lowly paid workers to take unpaid leave.

“However, the G7 presents a unique opportunity to focus on Cornwall’s future and what it means for our young people seeking work and an affordable place to live, given the plethora of expensive second homes.

“For too long, Cornwall has been regarded as a backwater by ministers and policymakers - a key example of this neglect is Whitehall’s failure to pay for the costs incurred by Covid-19, leaving the council with a £40 million deficit to fund statutory services.

“We started the pandemic with 17 of the most deprived wards in the country and the working people of Cornwall continue to suffer poverty, hunger and overwhelming anxiety in terms of job security and income generation.

“We are fighting to protect our members, who face the loss of jobs, as the pandemic still ravages our key sectors, particularly in food and drink, and hospitality that are the lifeblood of Cornwall’s economy.”

In October, Unite accused Cornwall’s six Conservative MPs, including environment secretary George Eustice, of ‘failing to go in to bat’ for the county.


Notes to editors:

For more information please contact Unite senior communications officer Shaun Noble on 020 3371 2060 or 07768 693940. Unite press office is on:  020 3371 2065.

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Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest union with members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.