IT IS English Tourism Week, which means the summer isn’t far away, even if it doesn’t feel like it outside!

Co-ordinated by VisitEngland, English Tourism Week (March 15 to 24) is an annual celebration of the tourism industry, highlighting its importance to local economies and promoting the innovation, quality and range of products and services on offer to encourage more domestic breaks. This year’s campaign is using the strapline ‘supporting tourism, the heart of our community’ to celebrate the amazing people, places, businesses, attractions, experiences, and destinations at the heart of England’s tourism sector.

I’m pleased that many people who chose North Cornwall as a destination when overseas travel was restricted have decided to keep coming back. The tourist and hospitality industry is a jewel in North Cornwall’s crown and employs a big percentage of our local workforce. On Friday I visited the award-winning Juliots Well, just outside Valley Truckle to celebrate and met the staff and management. On Saturday I was up at Mother Ivey’s Bay Holiday Park, a visit I always enjoy.

When I was out and about in the constituency at the weekend, one of the things that people wanted to talk to me about was the National Insurance cut announced in the budget. This measure confirms the main rate of primary Class 1 National Insurance contributions will be cut by two percentage points from 10 per cent to eight per cent from April 6.

The main rate of Class four National Insurance contributions will also be cut by two percentage points from eight per cent to six per cent. This is in addition to the reduction to the main rate of Class 4 previously announced at Autumn Statement 2023 and means that from April 6, 2024 the main rate will reduce from nine per cent to six per cent.

My position is simple – I want people to be able to keep more of their own money. Opposition parties often announce grand ideas before elections, the reality is that eventually, they always follow up with a tax raid. I don’t want to see my constituents working hard for less. That’s why I am very pleased to have been part of a government that is reducing taxation and delivering record investment into North Cornwall.

In Bodmin, Cash Access UK is still in negotiations with the landlord regarding location for a Banking Hub. Once this progresses and the lease has been signed, they will confirm and give an update on proposed openings.

Meanwhile, in Wadebridge, although Cash Access UK doesn't make the decisions about where a Banking Hub will go there is an assessment process completed by LINK.  This assessment is triggered through the last bank in town closing or through a community request. If it comes to the point that there are no banks in Wadebridge the next step would be to complete a community request. Banking access in North Cornwall is a priority for me, so I can assure you I will be keeping a close eye on both projects.