Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Fair Funding for Cornwall

On the same day that the leadership of Cornwall Council announced plans for budget cuts, I persuaded the members of the Council to back calls for a Commission to investigate the underfunding of public services in Cornwall.

The motion to Tuesday’s Full Council meeting, which had cross-party support, noted that vital public services in Cornwall receive less funding than other parts of the United Kingdom, called for a Commission and for the Council to produce a briefing document which could be forwarded to central government.

Alec Robertson, the Conservative Leader of the Council, sought to add an extra section about the ongoing work of Cornish MPs but also to remove the reference to the Commission. I agreed to add the extra paragraph, but held firm on the call for a Commision. His resultant amendment was defeated by 42 to 34. Members from all parties, and the Cabinet, opposed the amendment.

All members supported the main motion when the key vote on the proposal was taken.

The text of the motion as agreed was as follows:

This Council:

Notes that hospitals, schools and vital public services in Cornwall receive less funding than other parts of the United Kingdom.

Notes that 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.

Notes the actions of the six Cornish MPs, resulting in Andrew George MPs adjournment debate, and agrees to support our MPs in lobbying for fairer funding for Cornwall in relation to (i) the 2011/2012 financial settlement and (ii) the revision of Local Government finance, recently announced by the Coalition Government.

Writes to the new Coalition Government to seek a Commission to investigate the full extent of the underfunding of Cornwall, similar to the recent Holtham Commission in Wales.

Agrees to produce a briefing document, outlining our broad concerns about the underfunding of Cornwall, which can also be forwarded to central government.

The Council had earlier unanimously agreed a motion to work towards the setting up of a Local Enterprise Partnership for Cornwall.

1 comment:

Pete said...

When/if such a commission (or plain old lobbying) are under way, can you use your contacts please to make sure that whatever the Westminster arithmetic at a time of re-divvying the public funds, Cornwall's commission or lobbying efforts are coordinated with those of Plaid Cymru, the SNP and the NI parties ?

I ask this because there was an interview with Ieuan Wyn-Jones (of PC) on Channel 4 tv news at some date during the 2010 general election, mostly concerning PC's battle over Barnett funding formula reform. The interviewer specifically asked IW-J about how Cornwall would fare if Wales were allocated a bigger share of funding. IW-J completely dodged that question, which must have left most Cornish viewers, e.g. myself, profoundly unimpressed. Given MK's relationship with Plaid Cymru, can you persuade the bigger Celtic areas to help us, and vice versa, and not to sell us down the river ?