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The following article appeared in today's The Cornishman:
Top level investment for university campaign urged
Call follows a £3.6m boost for the Highlands and Islands
By Joyce Channon
THE campaign to get a University College in Cornwall could be let down by the lack of Covernment funding, the St. Ives MP, Andrew George said yesterday.
His remarks follow the news that the Highlands and Islands are to get £3.6 million for their University project, securing funds from the Scottish Education Minister, Brian Wilson MP.
Commenting on the news Mr. George said: "This is just the sort of top level investment that the Cornwall initiative could do with.
"Instead we see this level of development funding going to Scottish projects, with Cornwall missing out its fair share. Cornwall has a higher population that the Highlands and Islands, with many Comish students wishing to stay in the county to study. Now, with the imposition of tuition fees from the new Labour Government, able to live at home to get their many students may prefer to be university education.
Meanwhile, the latest campaign to establish a University campus in Penzance, got off to a flying start in Penzance when Mr. George launched his own University petition.
On Saturday he mingled with shoppers and told them: "We must step up the campaign to get the university."
The petitions, which are now all over the district, will go straight to the House of Commons. The MP says he will present them to 'Madam Speaker' before the end of the next session - probably the last week of November or early December.
Mr. George, author of a proposal to establish a University College before the University of Exeter taskforce was set up, has pledged to present the petition and lobby Prime Minister, Tony Blair, plus the Department of Education and Employment. In recent weeks he has held a meeting with Exeter University Vice-Chancellor, Sir Geoffrey Holland, and with the chairman of Exeter University Council, Mrs. Margaret Lorenz.
He said: "We need to maintain the momentum of a strong campaign to get the message across to the Government that we need this University. I am concerned it has lost some of its momentum and we need to fire up our campaign. I shall be seeking ministerial support and will be lobbying the Prime Minister.
He added: "We need to demonstrate the full backing of local communities by carrying this campaign not just in West Cornwall but across Cornwall as a whole. I will present a petition from the people of Cornwall to the House of Commons towards the end of next session. We need to demonstrate that the University bid has overwhelming support."
The MP went on: "it is important this has both cross-party support and community-wide initiative, that is why I launched the petition in Penzance on Saturday."
He revealed that the petition had already attracted hundreds of signatures. "I am determined to ensure that the Cornwall Initiative gets the Government funding it deserves," he stressed.
The petition states: "To the House of Commons : The petition of the people of Cornwall declares that a new University College is needed for Cornwall. The petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urges the Secretary of State for Education and Employment to address the need for a University College based in Cornwall."
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