Sunday, 3 November 2013

Wales has won more powers - now it must be Cornwall's turn

Mebyon Kernow has welcomed the announcement that the National Assembly of Wales has won greater powers, but re-iterated its call for devolution to Cornwall.

In 1997, the people of Wales voted in a referendum to create a Welsh Assembly. In 2011, they voted for law-making powers through a second referendum, and now they are winning further financial powers.

The Coalition last week announced that the Welsh Government will be given borrowing powers, control of landfill tax and stamp duty, and a House of Commons bill giving permission to hold a referendum on the devolution of income tax.

It was also in 1997 that the people of Scotland voted in a referendum to re-establish their parliament. And next year, they go to the polls to decide on whether Scotland should be independent – with opponents already promising more powers to the Scottish Parliament if they vote no.

But Cornwall has fared less well, even though 50,000 declarations demanding a Cornish Assembly were presented to 10 Downing Street in 2001. It remains a disgrace that Tony Blair’s Labour Government dismissed the declarations and refused to consider demands for greater powers for Cornwall.

Instead, we had the centralisation of local government forced on us with the creation of a single unitary authority, in the face of massive opposition.

And we have even had the Conservative-led Coalition Government further undermining democracy and the very territoriality of Cornwall by attempting to push through plans for a cross-Tamar parliamentary constituency.

Cornwall deserves better and a new democratic settlement – just like Wales – and Mebyon Kernow will continue to put pressure on central government to deliver meaningful devolution to Cornwall.

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