Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Cornwall Council backs "Case for Cornwall" and "Devolution Deal"

Members of the unitary authority yesterday backed the “Case for Cornwall.

According to the Council, it “sets out the increased powers and freedoms the Council wants to secure from the Government to enable Cornwall to take greater control over its own affairs.”

On behalf of MK, I made it clear that we did not think the proposals went nearly far enough and that the likely influence of unelected bodies such as the Local Enterprise Partnership was much too great.

I pointed out that we had moved an amendment at the January meeting for the “Case” to be more ambitious, but had not won the support of the Council. We did though support the “Case,” because we could not vote against more powers for Cornwall, even if they are limited and somewhat fleeting.

The vote was 64 in favour, 24 against and one abstention. The opponents were principally the Conservative and UKIP groups.

I told the meeting that we would continue to campaign for proper devolution for Cornwall, for a Cornish Assembly and an end to the growing unelected quangocracy – I might have used slightly different words!

We then had the frankly ridiculous situation of having to go into closed session to see the “Devolution Deal” being offered by central government. They (the Government) dictated that the debate could not be in public. The confidential “pink papers” were distributed in the meeting at about 2.00 and then all collected in again at the end of the meeting.

The councillors agreed to delegate authority to the Leader to sign the “Cornwall Devolution Deal.” It remains confidential until it announced by central government, which could be as early as tomorrow as rumour has it that David Cameron could be in Cornwall tomorrow.

All I will say at this juncture is that the “Deal” is even more lightweight than the “Case” and does not go nearly, nearly, nearly far enough … more comment tomorrow, I presume.

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