Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Cuts, cuts and cuts

Throughout the months of June and July, we have seen severe cuts in public spending announced in Cornwall. The unitary Council has been told to cut over £13 million from its budget for this financial year, while the Building Schools for the Future project has been sidelined. This means that £75 million to refurbish six schools in the first wave has been lost and future funding to refurbish and replace school buildings will no longer be available.

The new Government has also failed to heed our calls to address the under-funding of public services in Cornwall.

If that was not bad enough, today’s news that the Conservative-Liberal Democrat Government has frozen match funding for Cornwall’s Convergence programme absolutely beggars belief.

Public sector cuts will have an especially adverse impact on Cornwall, if we continue to receive less than our fair share of government expenditure in the first instance.

But for central government not to match-fund EU structural funding, which we only receive because of our low economic performance, could cost hundreds of jobs in Cornwall and see many businesses fail.

It makes one wonder – what is the point of having six Cornish MPs in the Coalition if this is what they come up with!

1 comment:

Kernow said...

‘It makes one wonder – what is the point of having six Cornish MPs in the Coalition if this is what they come up with!’

I feel that the six Cornish MPs are not the 'big hitters' we need to assert our authority. I always get the feeling that they are good at making very public 'soundbites' but when push comes to shove they fall short of what Cornwall requires to exert our authority, and our Unitary Council should now assert that authority we were promised it could have.

Within Andrew’s essay, ‘A New Beginning’ he said:

‘The new Unitary Authority could choose to become an obedient agent of central Government, effectively micromanaged from the centre. Or it could demonstrate its united determination and ambition to draw down powers from Government and Government quangos and agencies.’

Well it seems the quangoes and agencies are finally to be scrapped. So has there ever been a better time for Cornwall Council to demonstrate its united determination and ambition to have a Unitary Authority that actually uses that authority for Cornwall before the detested Devonwall project is foisted upon us?

An example of that determination and ambition was increasing pressure from Welsh leaders for more autonomy that brought devolution of administration in May 1999, meaning that more political power has been given to the Welsh Office in Cardiff that eventually led to the Welsh National Assembly.

Are Cornish leaders capable of increasing pressure on Government for more power? Or are they confined to making soundbites and blogs that will ensure we become a Devonwall region that will continue to be the obedient agent - that is micromanaged by central Government?

Although still in its early days, I don’t see any evidence that the Unitary Council is capable – or even have the will – of ensuring Cornwall is in control of its own destiny.