UK Government to sign £360m devolution deal with Cornwall including extra funding for Cornish language
Cornwall is to benefit from a £360 million devolution deal under new UK Government plans, including extra funding for efforts to promote the Cornish language.
The proposed deal, which will require local consent and parliamentary approval, will give the county a locally elected mayor and a greater say over transport budgets, building and several other areas.
Levelling up minister Dehenna Davison will be in Cornwall on Friday to sign the deal, which the Government is hailing as a “landmark” settlement for the Celtic nation.
The agreement builds on the previous 2015 devolution deal for the county, with the election for Cornwall Council’s new mayor taking place in May 2024 pending a local consultation.
Under the proposals, the council will work with London on housing with £8.7 million provided for delivering more homes on brownfield land as well as co-operation with the Government on local policy around second homes.
As well as funding for efforts to promote the Cornish language the region will also receive money to improve transport planning as part of a £500,000 investment.
Also significant is the decision to fully devolve the adult education budget to Cornwall from 2025.
Dehenna Davison that “for too long” Cornwall has “not received the levers it needs to level up and address the unique challenges it faces”.
“I am proud to sign the devolution agreement today and empower local leaders here who know best the issues that most affect the region.
“I look forward to working with Cornwall to turbo-charge levelling up, spread opportunity and unleash this great area’s full economic potential.”
Linda Taylor, leader of Cornwall Council, called it a “big deal” for the county and urged the public to consider the proposals.
“The Government has made it clear that the proposed deal is conditional on making our governance change. I am appealing to one and all to carefully consider this huge opportunity for Cornwall to receive more funding, powers and influence – and have your say on the deal that will help shape Cornwall’s future when the consultation begins next week.”
Mark Duddridge, chairman of the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership, said the devolution of the adult education budget would “enable more tailored support to be provided to thousands of Cornwall’s residents every year”.
‘Need a referendum’
The deal has not been without its controversy with thousands signing a petition opposing having a mayor for Cornwall.
More than 5,000 people who’ve signed the ‘let Cornwall decide’ petition and protestors gathered outside county hall on Tuesday calling for a referendum.
An amendment put forward in the chamber on Tuesday now means the decision will be deferred, until a public consultation on a devolution deal is complete.
Councillor Tim Dwelly, who put forward the motion for a public referendum, told ITV: “This is entirely London telling Cornwall what to do and Cornwall don’t like being told what to do by London.
“That’s why we need a referendum so that the people of Cornwall, rather than the people who are working for London which is the Conservatives running Cornwall Council, they should decide, it’s up to them whether we have a mayor, it’s not up to the leader of Cornwall Council.”
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