Talk of support for air link must be followed by action
It's encouraging to hear of the positive response that Newquay MP Stephen Gilbert met with when he sat down with Treasury minister Danny Alexander this week. Mr Alexander has given 'in principle' support to the idea of a Public Service Obligation for the Newquay–Gatwick air links which are due to end on March 30. Prospects of maintaining a commercially-based air link were dealt a blow when it was announced that easyJet had decided there was not enough demand to maintain the flights. News that the Luton-based carrier had decided to continue with flights between Inverness and Gatwick after intervention from the Scottish Parliament initially saw some wondering if Cornwall had missed a trick when it came to lobbying for political support. It's therefore good to hear that Mr Gilbert plans to maintain political pressure to safeguard the flights. Mr Alexander's 'in principle' support is a good starting point. However, at some point, the Government must move from principle to practice and we can only hope that its willingness to 'bend over backwards' to secure a PSO is backed up by a volition to put some cash on the table. It often seems like the Westcountry does not gets its fair share of investment, with schemes like HS2 offering precious few benefits for those living west of Bristol. The Government now has the perfect opportunity to demonstrate its support for infrastructure in the far South West
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Abraham Lincoln said that 'most folks are as happy as they make up their minds to be'. And it seems that we in the Westcountry have made up our minds to be happy, according to the results of the Office for National Statistics' latest well-being index. People in Cornwall rank in the top five nationally for happiness, with happiness levels in neighbouring Devon slightly lower, although still above average. Ranking something as subjective as happiness seems an odd concept and David Cameron certainly took some flak for it when the index was launched last year. We're well used to seeing areas ranked by Gross Domestic product, but perhaps Gross Well-being Product will prove more popular as a post-recession indicator of a place's true wealth. Because, as everyone knows, money can't buy you happiness – although it seems that the Westcountry's happy mixture of beaches, pasties and cider just might.
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