Wednesday, 8 July 2015

"The Case for Cornwall" at Cabinet

The Cabinet of Cornwall Council today voted to support its “Case for Cornwall.” It will now be presented to Full Council on 14th July.

In my initial contribution to the debate, I pointed out that, in my opinion, the proposals did not go nearly far enough. I repeated the MK perspective that the people of Cornwall should be seeking democratic control over the whole of the public sector through a Cornish Assembly.

This was very different to the view expressed by Chief Executive, who described the Council's approach as being about a “multi-governance model.” By this, he meant that local government would be working in partnership with a host of partnerships and boards of limited democratic legitimacy.

I strongly criticised this aspect of the proposal and the desire to embed governance into “taskforces,” the Local Enterprise Partnership, a Public Sector Group, a Strategic Infrastructure Partnership, a Housing Investment Board … the list goes on.

I also felt it necessary to address the fact that the “Case for Cornwall” was a mixed bag – seeking some devolution powers, alongside the proposed integration of the NHS and social care (which is not a devolution “ask” as such) and specific requests for additional funding (which is obviously welcome, but again is not a devolution “ask” as such).

On the issue of governance, my concluding “soundbite” was in favour of proper “democratic devolution” as in Wales and Scotland, not the “multi-governance model” set out in the “Case for Cornwall.”

We will now have to wait to see what George Osborne says in his budget statement later today and what indications he will give about the “devolution deal” he might be willing to endorse.

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