Devolution views from C’Wall Cllr Adrian Parsons

Consultation on the proposed Cornwall Devolution Deal | Let’s Talk Cornwall THIS QUESTIONNAIRE CLOSES ON FEBRUARY 17th 2023 More views here Mayor for Cornwall debate and the full facts about the Devolution Deal – Cornwall Live

Adrian Parsons – Cornwall Councillor for Altarnun & Stoke Climsland

As part of the Government’s Help for Households initiative, Go Cornwall Bus is participating in the nationwide £2 fare capping scheme for all single bus journeys across their network, until the end of March. First Kernow and Stagecoach are also taking part. All single journeys in North Cornwall are covered by the scheme!

My thoughts regarding the Devolution Deal being offered to Cornwall!

One would have thought the opportunity of greater powers for Cornwall through a new Devolution Deal between Cornwall Council and the Government, with an extra £360m investment fund over 30 years to deliver on the region’s priorities, would be what most would want to enable us to take greater control of our own destiny. As often appears to be the case with these deals, things are not always as straight forward as they first appear and often the devil is in the detail.

For far too long Cornwall has been one of the poorest regions in Northern Europe, which is why historically we received more economic aid than any other part of the UK. It has been stated that over a quarter of children in Cornwall live in poverty and that more still needs to be done to improve both wages and the productivity of the local economy. Housing issues have only escalated dramatically over the last 18 months with not just house prices but also rental values being out of reach for many due to the rise in second home ownership and the increase in properties being let for holidays. Access to NHS & Adult Social Care services have reached breaking point and the inequality gap between rich and poor has only widened further, creating a two tier Cornwall and further resentment amongst many who feel they are being left behind. The system isn’t working for them, so change at local level is desperately needed to reverse this decline.

So is now the time to grasp the nettle and take advantage of the new powers on offer? I wish I could say yes it was, but at this moment in time it again feels like Cornwall is being short changed. I don’t think the additional £12m a year goes anywhere near far enough to help deliver what’s required and make up for what has been lost. For the Duchy to really prosper we need real investment not just to generate more wealth but to also keep it here, for too long much of the money made in the Duchy is sucked out and spent elsewhere. We need to create worthwhile jobs that pay people a decent all year round income. We have so many opportunities, whether that be improving our ports and harbours to driving growth in our clean energy sectors, which has so much untapped potential with the ability to provide job creation. With the addition of spaceport Cornwall this helps to draw other tech firms creating better paid jobs to complement our more traditional agriculture, mining, fishing and tourism sectors, all of which need support not just to survive but to thrive and encourage new entrants to bring in new ideas. Along with providing improved education provision and skills training we will be able to offer hope and opportunity so our young people don’t have to move away to find employment.

To date I have seen nothing to convince me that this is a good deal for Cornwall and that real change can be made. What makes it all the more unpalatable is that to go with this we have to accept the position of a Mayor For Cornwall, if we don’t the deal falls through.

It concerns me handing one person in the form of a Mayor such power, it would have a major impact not just on how decisions are made but also on our democracy.

I fear this will further add to much of the spend and investment within the Duchy again being centralised in Truro and the towns further down west, with east Cornwall continuing to be forgotten about. At this moment in time the negatives far outweigh the positives for all of Cornwall to really prosper. I think such is the enormity of the impact this will have on us all, it’s only correct to hold a referendum and let the people of Cornwall decide!

Link to Cornwall Council Devolution Deal paper published December 2nd 2022

Public Consultation meeting Launceston Town Hall Feb. 7th 6:30pm