NEWS FROM THE CELTIC LEAGUE
The Westminster Government has agreed an historic ‘new deal’ for Cornwall which will give new control over services which are delivered in Cornwall.
Following much preparation and discussion between Cornwall Council and the Westminster Government over the so called ‘Case for Cornwall’, the matters to be devolved are to be formally announced during Thursday 16th July, 2015.
As it stands, the following are set to be included in the deal:
1. Giving Cornwall Council powers for franchising and improving bus services in the area – the first rural unitary authority to gain this power. The plan is for Cornwall Council will take over responsibility for franchising bus services by 2018.
2. Giving the Local Enterprise Partnership more say on boosting local skills levels.
3. Giving the council powers to select the projects, working with partners, it wants to see benefiting from millions of pounds of inward investment funding. This will be carried out by Cornwall Council having intermediate body status – for European Regional Development Fund and European Social Fund – which will allow it to select projects from April 2016.
4. Make it easier for the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership to integrate national and local business support services to help local firms grow.
5. Enable Cornwall Council and the Council of the Isles of Scilly to work with local health organisations on a plan for integrating health and social care services.
6. Cornwall’s aim to create a low-carbon Enterprise Zone and develop geothermal energy production.
7. Support for the creation of a Cornish Heritage Environment Forum.
Other areas such as housing, planning etc are not in this deal – yet.
Cornwall Council leader John Pollard said: “This Devolution Deal is brilliant news for Cornwall. We were early in recognising the growing momentum of the national agenda for devolving powers from Westminster and, by creating a Case for Cornwall which was strong and realistic we have had a positive response from the Government. Cornwall is, therefore, the first rural authority in the country to be given a devolution deal. This gives Cornwall greater powers over public sector funding.”
“This is the first stage of a longer journey towards delivering the full case for Cornwall. We will now be working with partners to develop an integrated health and social care system, and deliver significant economic growth, with enhanced business support, greater access to employment and training opportunities, together with a much improved public transport network and use of public sector buildings.”
When asked for his views on the announcement by the media today, Mike Chappell, Convener of the Kernow Branch of the Celtic League and himself a local Independent Councillor said,
“Many of us have expressed doubts over the ability of Cornwall Council as it currently stands, to handle extra powers. Extreme concerns have been voiced over housing and commercial development in Cornwall and the very obvious damage being caused. Those concerns continue and Cornwall Council can rest assured, the many who are ill at ease with what is happening will continue to press the Council and indeed, Westminster, for sensible solutions to massed housing proposals.
That said, the Government has agreed to transfer these powers and we have to face the reality of this situation and work with it. The ultimate solution remains a legislative assembly for Cornwall and we must all strive toward that objective. We must remember that there are elections to Cornwall Council in 2017 and so we are extremely likely to see a change of faces there. That said, just as no country achieving independence from the late British Empire ever asked to be taken back, no elected representative will ever ask to return powers to Westminster, no matter their political affiliation.
This is not the end of our historic journey, this is just the beginning. To say that we, as the people of Cornwall are unable to run our own affairs is insulting. As with the legal recognition of the Cornish language back in 2002 and then the Cornish National Minority in 2014, we are all in this for the long run.
It would be churlish of us not to congratulate Cornwall Council Leader, John Pollard and his team at this time.”
The Government said that the devolution deal was not the end of handing powers to Cornwall and confirmed that it would listen to any further bids put forward.
Cornwall Council website: https://www.cornwall.gov.uk/council-and-democracy/council-news-room/media-releases/news-from-2015/news-from-july-2015/members-of-cornwall-council-back-case-for-cornwall/
J B Moffatt (Mr)
Director of Information
THE CELTIC LEAGUE INFORMATION SERVICE.
The Celtic League was established in 1961and has branches in the six Celtic Countries. It works to promote cooperation between these countries and campaigns on a broad range of political, cultural and environmental matters. It highlights human rights abuse, monitors all military activity and focuses on socio-economic issues