General Election 24: Cornish voters know what’s going on, but few know which party has the solutions | Political news

As part of Sky’s Bench Across Britain series, voters in Newquay say high house prices and rents, the cost of living and the apparent decline in public services are among the key issues in July’s general election.

By means of Jason Farrell, Home Editor @JasonFarrellSky

Thursday May 30, 2024 04:19, UK

The green benches of the House of Commons have come to a standstill in Westminster and it is time for us, the United Kingdom, to choose who will occupy them next.

That’s why Sky News has decided to transport an upholstered piece of parliamentary furniture across the country for you to share your views on.

The green bench in Newquay

We started our Bench Across Britain series in the West Country, dragging our green bench down the harbour’s steps, over dark slimy rocks and on to the vast yellow sands of Towan Beach in Newquay Bay.

Here we found our first speaker, surf instructor Rich Holgate Smith.

“I don’t spend enough time on it myself,” he admits. ‘I don’t follow Rishi Sunak religious. But I see what happens every day, like the way I live.

‘The cost of rent has tripled in recent years and the cost of food has risen. And I see us losing a lot of the good things that made this country great, a lot of free services, the NHSFor example.”

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Rich Holgate Smith

The sense that public services are in decline is a recurring topic of conversation on our bench, as is the cost of living.

Young couple Sophia Zielinski-Keall and Max Whiteley are walking their dog on the beach when they stop for a chat.

“I haven’t seen anyone really come here to see what’s happening Cornwall,” says Sophia. “Like house prices; they have gotten out of hand here. We managed to buy a first home and we feel quite happy. It was difficult.

‘I know a lot of people who are also trying to buy their first house at the moment and they are finding it very difficult, especially with the salaries down here. They cannot be compared to salaries in London and other countries. House prices are skyrocketing.”

Sophia Zielinski-Keall and Max Whiteley

Max adds: “I think we both have good jobs, but the money seems to come in every month. In many ways I was better off ten years ago than I am now, even though I probably earned 50% less.”

Second home owners driving up house prices for locals are a growing problem in the region. Two Falmouth teachers, Frankie Baseley and Jessica Fenton, say the same thing.

“The housing down here is way beyond what we can afford,” Frankie says. “We earn a pretty good salary for being in Cornwall, but going to a store and doing a weekly shop is just so expensive!”

Newquay in Cornwall.

Jessica adds: “Then I think about budget cuts, lack of resources, lack of funding for mental health, especially special needs, especially school trips – like the cost of living really affects coach prices, so we can’t go to school trips.”

St Austell and Newquay do Tory-held. Work were in second place in both 2017 and 2019 and there was no UKIP or Brexit candidate in either election.

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This year there are at least seven candidates, including one out Reform in a seat that is estimated to have voted 65% Leave Brexit referendum.

Labor needs a swing of 14.5% to win the constituency. This would put them on track for a majority of 50 seats, evenly across the country.

There are several constituencies the Conservatives must defend in the region, which is currently virtually a sea of ​​blue. In England, Labor and Liberal Democrats each have just two seats west of Bristol, but want to turn the south-west into a patchwork of red and yellow.

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With a breathtaking coastline of over 700 miles, people here care a lot about the environment. A surfer sitting on our bench complained about “the amount of poop in the sea”. Other locals were angry at both major parties for backtracking on green commitments.

Transport is another issue, whether it is bus and train services or the price of fuel. Aircraft mechanic Richard Wooldridge says petrol costs are ‘crippling’ his family.

Richard Wooldridge

He says: “I travel for work, my wife travels to work. I work outside the home so I can earn a good wage. But it has now come to the point where I have to think about fuel costs, whether I continue in my chosen career or being a stay-at-home dad because gas prices are so high.”

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At 9am on a Sunday in the harbour, Richard is part of a group of men who religiously jump into the water, rain or shine. A fellow member of the Blue Ball swimming club, teacher Matthew Jenkins, says ‘integrity’ is the most important consideration for him in his vote.

He added: “I think the fact that we were told a lot of things and a lot of those things never happened, we were lied to a lot, especially during the war. COVID year.

“And I know some of those things that some people thought were quite trivial, but in terms of integrity they are actually very important and have made a big difference in people’s lives.”

Despite general dissatisfaction with the previous government and despondency over the cost of living, there is no great enthusiasm for the main opposition party.

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Jessica, one of the Falmouth teachers, reflected the general mood when she said, “I’ll definitely be watching and thinking about different parties.”

The people who came to our hearing seemed to know what is wrong with their lives; fewer people knew which party had the solutions.

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