LABOUR leader Sir Keir Starmer visited Falmouth today, with a message of support for Cornwall's hospitality and tourism businesses.

Falmouth Packet:

The Leader of the Opposition arrived at lunchtime at Gyllyngvase beach and visited Gylly Beach Cafe, followed by WESUP paddleboarding business, before going on to visit Falmouth RNLI station, walk around Falmouth with Richard Wilcox, Falmouth BID manager and stop at a couple of local businesses. He then headed to the Chain Locker pub for a meeting with St Austell brewery followed by a Cornwall business roundtable. 

Read more: Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer to visit Falmouth today

Falmouth Packet:

In Sir Keir's first physical visit to the area since becoming Labour leader, he told the Packet:

"I think the Government needs to be sector specific here, it's got a 'one size fits all approach'.

"They're treating all businesses and all sectors as if they're exactly the same.

"As we go through the remaining months of this year, it's clear that hospitality, tourism and other sectors are struggling much more.

"Social distancing and the short season for hospitality and for tourism is particularly affecting businesses in Cornwall and across the south west.

Falmouth Packet:

Sir Keir met staff at Gylly Beach cafe

"So we're saying to the government, don't have a 'one size fits all', actually tailor this to the businesses that really need it. These are good businesses that can thrive and survive but they need a bit of support to do it.

Read more: Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer holds virtual public meeting

"As we come off the support it shouldn't end at the same time for all businesses and all sectors.

"We're saying that as the Labour Party, these businesses are saying that across the south west and across Cornwall because they're feeling it.

"We owe it to them and to their staff and their employees to help them through these remaining months because every business that goes under means job losses, and it means that it's so much harder for those businesses to get back up again.

"There's a high percentage of jobs in Falmouth where we are today that are in the tourist sector so put the support in for those businesses.

"What people are saying to me here is 'we started late, because the season couldn't operate', but they're hoping for a long season and we hope it will be, put the support in.

"There's also a bit about confidence: government messaging is affecting confidence of people to come out and enjoy the facilities, so clear messaging, and tailored support."

Falmouth Packet:

Sir Keir met co-owner of WESUP Harry James Mills

Co-owner of WESUP Harry James Mills said: "I actually had butterflies before meeting him.

"Meeting him today I thought was a really good opportunity to ask him some questions.

"I just wanted to tell him how positively we in Falmouth have reacted to the situation. We've had to make drastic changes but we've come out fighting."

Falmouth Packet:

Sir Keir met co-owner of WESUP Harry James Mills

In a statement sent to the Packet in response to today's visit, Work and Pensions Secretary Therese Coffey said: "At a time when we are protecting almost 10 million people’s incomes – and supporting millions more through our safety net welfare system – it is disappointing to see Sir Keir Starmer using selective figures to chase headlines and score cheap political points.

"We have been honest with the British public that while we cannot save every job, we have introduced an unprecedented package of support for jobs and businesses, which have particularly helped the hospitality and tourism sectors.

"Our Plan for Jobs will support Britain getting back into work, something we hope the Labour Party will get behind."