Cornish culture and identity have been given a protected status under a European convention for minority nations.
Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander, will today announce that Cornish history, language and culture are now protected under the 1998 European Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities bill.
The decision has put Cornish heritage in line with the legal recognition afforded to Scottish, Welsh and Irish cultures.
Speaking on a visit to Bodmin, Mr Alexander said: “Cornish people have a proud history and a distinct identity. I am delighted that we have been able to officially recognise this and afford the Cornish people the same status as other minorities in the UK.”
“Today’s announcement builds on the government’s continued commitment to Cornwall and the Cornish language.”
Cornwall Council, who worked with the government during the application process, have welcomed the decision
John Pollard, leader of Cornwall Council, said “It is with surprise and great delight that we heard today that the government will fully recognise the Cornish as a national minority under the Framework Convention for Protection of National Minorities.”
While the status is not predicted to have any immediate affects, Cornwall Council have said that it will bring a greater recognition of Cornwall and the Cornish brand, further economic investment to the county and provide a stronger cultural identity for young people and communities.
Mr Pollard added: “National minority status will not initially bring any additional funding or powers to the Council or to Cornwall.
“We will need to work with partners to make this clear to people in Cornwall.
“However, there are obviously significant benefits for Cornwall in being included within the Framework Convention which is worth celebrating and I pay tribute to all those who have worked tirelessly over many years to achieve this status.”
This is the fourth time that Cornwall has vied for protected status, and it’s recognition will require government departments and public bodies to take Cornish national views in to account when making relevant decisions.
Councillor Dick Cole, leader of the Mebyon Kernow party, said: “This is a fantastic announcement for Cornwall. As the Leader of Mebyon Kernow I am absolutely delighted that the government has recognised the Cornish people as a national minority and it is great to see that all the Celtic peoples of these Islands – the Cornish, Irish, Scottish and Welsh – afforded equal protection under the Framework Convention.
“I would also like to play a heartfelt tribute to everyone who played a part in the long running campaign to secure national minority status.”
The decision follows the promise of a £120,000 grant by the government for the development and promotion of Cornish language last month.