Mums too poor to buy nappies, 200 rise in families using food banks – why Biden's G7 heaven is hell for residents
WITH its private beach and £1,500-a-night rooms, Cornwall’s Carbis Bay hotel will host the world’s leaders at next month’s G7 summit.
But as Boris Johnson, Joe Biden, Angela Merkel and Co discuss cancelling Third World debt, they will be doing so in one of the poorest parts of Britain — where thousands struggle to feed their families or buy nappies for their babies.
Seven miles down the road in the landlocked Camborne corridor, employment rates sit at a shockingly low 34 per cent — more than half the nation’s average — while the use of local food banks has soared by 200 per cent in the last year alone.
Dad-of-one Julian Ward, 51, who has been relying on food handouts since losing his job as a chef ten months ago, said: “The G7 leaders would be shocked if they came here because there are no jobs, no money, no investment and nothing going on.
“People think Cornwall is the second home of the rich and famous — well, a small part might be but the rest of us are really struggling.
“We’ve got a real problem here. I’ve been out of work for ten months and using the food bank for six months because it’s the only way me and my ten-year-old son can eat.
“It’s staggering that Biden, Merkel and Boris will be debating the world’s problems just down the road when we’re on our knees here.”
A ring of steel has descended on the affluent seaside town of Carbis Bay ahead of the three-day G7 Summit which begins on June 11.
This year will see leaders from Australia, India and South Korea join those from G7 countries Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the US and UK.
for a 3-bed house
in full-time work
families use food bank in Camborne
leave school with no qualifications
go without heating
- Statistics for Camborne corridor
a night rooms
a night private villas
fillet of Beef Rossini
Bottle of 1989 Chateau Palmer
Bottle of Dom Perignon bubbly
glass of cognac
‘PARENTS BREAK DOWN IN TEARS’
It is claimed the region will benefit by £50million in future tourism from the glamorous summit.
But life remains stark for people in the nearby former tin mining towns of Redruth and Camborne.
When The Sun on Sunday visited this week, we heard harrowing accounts of mothers too poor to buy nappies, a woman going three days without food and children who have never seen the sea because their parents cannot afford the bus fare.
Don Gardner runs a food bank in Camborne and is so distressed by what is going on he wrote to Prime Minister Boris Johnson begging him to come and see “the real Cornwall” while showing off Carbis Bay.
Don, 76, said: “I got a call the other day from a primary school teacher who had found a woman in floods of tears in the playground.
“When he asked what was wrong, she told him she hadn’t been able to afford to eat for three days and her eight-year-old daughter had been eating beans on toast for a week.
“We got a box of food together and got it out to her at 7pm that evening.
“We get calls like that all the time. Sometimes our workers end up giving parents money so they can buy nappies for their children.
“The parents are so grateful they break down in tears. There are children here that have never seen the sea because their parents can’t afford the £4.50 it costs for the bus.
“I’ve been running this food bank for 12 years. We were helping 400 families before the pandemic hit and now we are helping 1,600.
“Huge numbers are on minimum wages here so although they’re getting furlough, a 20 per cent cut to their salary is huge.
“I wrote to Boris Johnson asking him to come down and look at the deprivation in Camborne, but I didn’t get a reply. I told him, ‘I’m sure you want to show off Cornwall’s natural beauty, but not everyone here gets to see it — you should come and see the poverty for yourself’.”
Operations manager Joyce Duffin, 47, from Camborne, added that many families face an “eat or heat” dilemma. She said: “They have to choose between paying the fuel meter or feeding their children.
“I know someone that doesn’t have enough money to boil a kettle.
“When you think about G7 leaders eating steak and seafood up the road, it’s hard to find the right words.”
Rob Love founded fundraising platform Crowdfunder, based in Cornwall, which has helped to raise more than £80,000 for local food charity Transformation CPR.
In 2019, they had 34 food bank projects registered for help on the site. By 2020 that had risen to 299.
He said: “We’ve seen a huge rise in the number of food bank campaigns coming on to our platform and also for people fundraising for basic needs over the last year. One food bank in Cornwall has told us they were serving 60 meals a day pre-Covid. Now they’re doing up to 4,000 meals on some days.
“It’s great the G7 is coming to Cornwall to talk about solving the world’s problems but it’s a terrible indictment on the UK in 2021 when we are playing host to world leaders yet a few miles away there are people who can’t put food on the table for their own families.”
The Camborne corridor, which stretches between the towns of Camborne, Redruth and Pool, was once an industrial heartland and one of the richest tin mining areas in the world.
Dozens of mines dotted the landscape during the boom years of the 19th Century and thousands of jobs were also provided by the CompAir Holman factory, Cornwall’s largest manufacturer of industrial equipment. But plummeting tin prices in the 1980s swept it all away.
The South Crofty mine in Camborne was the last to close in 1998 and now stands empty on a barren wasteland, while the surrounding towns are in the top two per cent of the most deprived areas in Britain.
A quarter of pupils leave school with no qualifications, one in ten go without central heating and a quarter of children live in poverty compared with a fifth in the rest of the UK.
Experts say conditions are worse than in some parts of Eastern Europe and it has also become a suicide, domestic abuse and antisocial behaviour hotspot.
Lockdown has made the situation worse, with only 34 per cent in full-time employment compared with 75 per cent across the UK.
The number of people on unemployment benefits in Cornwall rose 106 per cent to 18,170 between March 2020 and January 2021.
Luxury homes of rich and famous
COASTAL areas just along the road from Cornwall’s run-down towns play host to the million-pound pads and second homes of wealthy celebrities.
Former PM David Cameron, pictured, owns a £2million house in Daymer Bay.
Chef Gordon Ramsay paid £4.4million in 2015 for a five-bedroom holiday cottage in nearby Rock – the second most expensive sale recorded in Cornwall at the time.
Comic Dawn French has just sold her 40-room, Grade II-listed house Point Neptune for more than £3million. Former Wham! singer Andrew Ridgeley quit London in 1994 and moved to a restored 15th Century farmhouse near St Breock, Wadebridge, now worth an estimated £1million.
Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke owns a property in the tiny village of Crackington Haven, near Bude.
Other million-pound homes include those of comic Harry Enfield in Rock, TV chef Rick Stein in Padstow, singer Ricky Wilson in Falmouth, Queen drummer Roger Taylor in Helford and lyricist Tim Rice, also in Helford.
‘PEOPLE FROM UPCOUNTRY BUYING ALL THE HOUSES’
There are 84,300 locals on furlough, 13,500 of them in Camborne and Redruth.
In Redruth, where the average cost of a three-bed house is £190,000, half a dozen stores have closed on one stretch of road.
Former Camborne mayor Trevor Chalker, 70, said: “There are people who have made fortunes from property here, but not the locals. There is so much gazumping going on among people buying second homes that full price is never enough. Locals haven’t got a chance and its soul-destroying for them.”
Mum-of-two Karen Pidwell, 37, from Redruth, volunteers at the Last Chance Hotel charity shop and said: “We are treated like the ar*e end of Britain, which is ironic when you see where we are on the map.”
Charity shop owner Heather Hallatt, 53, added: “One of my regulars told me she was giving her dog up because she can’t afford its food. Living expenses are too high compared to wages and that’s because people from upcountry are buying all the houses then doubling the rents and causing inflation.
“I know the G7 leaders will be talking about cancelling Third World debt. Well, people are in debt here because they have to live off their credit cards.”
Over at the Carbis Bay Hotel, where standard rooms cost up to £1,500 a night and villas are £4,000, a beach club is being constructed along with rows of five-star accommodation for G7 delegates.
Diners at the hotel’s Restaurant 1894 can enjoy a fillet of Beef Rossini for £37.50 or venison loin for £28, washed down with a bottle of 1989 Chateau Palmer costing £850.
A bottle of Dom Perignon goes for £240 while a 25ml glass of Hennessy Paradis cognac is £60.
Lee Collins, 41, owns The Grow Box grocery store in Redruth and says G7 opulence is causing outrage in a place where many cannot afford £1.15 for a loaf of bread.
He said: “I’ve heard they are building rooms for the G7 that will cost £3,000 a night.
“It’s disproportionate — that’s enough money to feed an entire family for a year.”
- To donate to the Transformation CPR foodbank, go to crowdfunder.co.uk/cpr.
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