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Minister signals “appetite” for Cornwall devolution deal

By GDemianyk  |  Posted: March 18, 2014

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A Government minister has said there is an "appetite" to devolve powers to Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly as council and businesses leaders fine-tune proposals to claw responsibilities from Whitehall.

Cities and the Constitution Minister Greg Clark said the Duchy was a "par excellence" example of how regions know better than London about how to run their area.

The Government is in the process of de-centralising power through a series of "deals", giving areas control of policy including transport, training and welfare. Plymouth recently secured a "deal", which will also benefit other towns across the peninsula.

The Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership is working up a "growth deal", which is to be submitted to the Government for approval by the end of this month. (March 31)

It wants powers to offer more tax cuts to new businesses, a single pot for EU funding, more responsibility for delivering transport improvements and help to pave the way for a space and aerospace "cluster".

Speaking to the Western Morning News, Mr Clark signalled his enthusiasm for their plans.

 He said: "Cornwall is a place, from the Government's point of view, where there's been a particular appetite to do a deal with.

"It's a place that exemplifies par excellence my view that the people that know best what is needed for the area are the people who live and work there.

"It's obvious if you are based in Cornwall or the Isles of Scilly your ability to say what intervention, what investment is appropriate, is far more accurate and well-informed than if you are an official sitting miles away in London."

While any agreement would fall short of a Cornish assembly demanded by nationalists, a deal has the potential to hand the Duchy more self-rule than it has known for decades.

The devolution agenda began with "city deals" where England's biggest cities, including Manchester, Birmingham and Bristol, were encouraged to restore their civic pride, and financial fortunes, though strong local leadership.

Now the plan is to get rural areas involved too, and Cornwall is seen as a potential model for other sprawling areas to follow.

Mr Clark also acknowledged the importance of good transport links serving the peninsula, a factor underlined by the collapsed Great Western line at Dawlish. The Cornwall growth deal includes a demand for a central government subsidy for Newquay airport's link to London.

Mr Clark said: "You need to have places that people can do business and have jobs available, but people need to be able to get there.

"One of the things we have seen not just in this country but around the world is the more prosperous places tend to be places that are investing in their connections with other places.

"The whole idea that any city can be a medieval battalion, a walled city where it is self-contained and fortified against arrivals ... that is not the modern world.

"In China, you see cities making fast connections between each other. And that applies right across the UK – that is why I think High Speed 2 is very important to make those connections."

He added: "In the Westcountry, and Devon and Cornwall in particular, transport is going to be central to growth prospects, and in both the Cornwall proposed deal and the west of England proposed growth deal transport features very prominently as you would expect."

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13 comments

  • westwelsh  |  March 19 2014, 8:00PM

    Soon the little Englanders wll be alone to cope with the world without the Celtic nations of ***ru, Alba, and kernow. No gloating while England sinks without trace.

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  • AnBalores  |  March 19 2014, 5:01PM

    Great news for Cornwall. Who cares about the inward looking folks of UKIP. We are European. let's embrace that fact!

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  • TWINSCREW  |  March 19 2014, 2:05PM

    Who will protect us from another layer of bureaucrats? Most of these people have no celtic connection, having imported themselves from England and set themselves up into little empires they interfere with our lives daily with their toytown politics.

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  • martian1956  |  March 19 2014, 12:37PM

    The St Piran flag says it all. The comment of " Indeed, they encourage sneaky almost English behaviour and we all know what the English are like" Well, all I can say is that we "English" know what your type of "Cornish" are like and quite frankly you like each other a bit too much. That needs to end and the migration from the rest of England to the Southwest of England can only ensure that it does. Lock up your daughters! Lmao

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  • Porthlevener  |  March 19 2014, 9:54AM

    Okay, I know a lot won't want to hear this but... The facts are that we in Cornwall get much, much more back than we put into the tax pot. From the UK as well as the EU. Yes, no-one down here wants to hear that but it is (unfortunately) true. If we get "independence" it's a reason for the coalition (and possibly the EU) to say "right, if you want to go it alone, you're on your own now." and stop all the subsidies and grants. Result... "They" save money, we end up in a desolate rural wasteland.

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  • wringer  |  March 18 2014, 11:28PM

    Oh my goodness!! Really, are all you daft lot falling for this. what this is about is this. at the moment the govt spend say £10m on something in Cornwall. they want to make cutbacks but know that if they do people wont vote for them. so what they do is offer to "devolve decisions" and with these devolved decisions comes money. but hey wait a minute? they wont give you £10m, no they will give you £8m so you will be expected to do the same or more with less money. and when you fail it will be Cornwalls fault not Westminster. wake up and smell the coffee. as for devolving to Cornwall really? Fabulous job we make of it. £3,000,000 wasted on an airport, money on Heartlands, money put aside to spend on destructive green energy (why shouldn't they make a fast buck at CC like every other land owner does eh), hidden money given to Eden. I wouldn't trust this lot to get chips from the corner shop let alone have devolved power. and the LEP leading it - stale, pale and male. sound familiar?

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  • break  |  March 18 2014, 10:18PM

    Like it or not, the running of Cornwall has to change. You can stand behind your party which you've stood behind since you were born, and watch Cornwall go downhill like it has done for long enough, or you can stand behind Cornwall and make it prosper. The bad news is, there's only one Cornish party, but maybe if they get voted in, it might lead to the creation of others, at least we'll all get listened to and have a voice. People can vote for whoever they want, but the outcome affects everyone, and it affects our future.

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  • IainS  |  March 18 2014, 9:00PM

    'Grow up' says Jellybean. Mmmm. Well we now have devolution (not independence but a greater say over our own affairs) being offered by the Conservative, Lib Dem, Mebyon Kernow and the Green parties. A case of 'our devolution is better than your devolution' perhaps? But in any case, as someone else has said above, it's going to happen and despite red arrows and green arrows and much renting of clothes, it's going to be a good thing and might even get people voting again. Whatever, it would appear to be Jellybean or whatever he has called himself this week, who needs to be 'growing up'.

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  • westwelsh  |  March 18 2014, 8:33PM

    We need more control over Cornwall's destiny. We should be managed from Lys Kernow, not ruled by Westminster. Kernow out of GB now!!!! Vote Mebyon Kernow for an independent Cornwall with our own parliament.

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  • AnBalores  |  March 18 2014, 8:11PM

    Devolution is coming and the few here can run around wailing about it but it is fast approaching. We can and will do a better job locally.

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