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Cornwall first county to win devolution deal

Cornwall is to become the first county to take over control of many local services from Whitehall, which is expected to bring “jobs and prosperity” to the area. 

The Cornwall devolution deal will give the area control of bus services, adult skills and regional investment, and health and social services will also be integrated. 

Cornwall Council leader Cllr John Pollard said: “This devolution deal is brilliant news for Cornwall. We were early in recognising the growing momentum of the national agenda for devolving powers from Westminster and, by creating a ‘case for Cornwall’ which was strong and realistic we have had a positive response from the government. 

“Cornwall is, therefore, the first rural authority in the country to be given a devolution deal. This gives Cornwall greater powers over public sector funding. This is the first stage of a longer journey towards delivering the full case for Cornwall.” 

The government announced that the Cornwall devolution deal will: 

  • Give Cornwall council powers for franchising and improving bus services in the area – the first rural unitary authority to gain this power;
  • Give the Local Enterprise Partnership more say on boosting local skills levels
  • Give the council powers to select the projects, working with partners, it wants to see benefiting from millions of pounds of inward investment funding
  • Make it easier for the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership to integrate national and local business support services to help local firms grow; and
  • Enable Cornwall council and the council of the Isles of Scilly to work with local health organisations on a plan for integrating health and social care services. 

The Cities & Local Government Devolution Bill is currently passing through Parliament and puts in place the legal framework across the country that will make it simpler for devolving more powers to more places. 

The Bill sets out far-reaching powers to be devolved to Greater Manchester, as announced in the Summer Budget, and for creating a city-wide elected metro mayor who will provide strong leadership and a clear vision. 

Communities secretary Greg Clark MP, who recently encouraged town halls to be ambitious in their devolution proposals at the LGA conference, said: “This historic deal ensures Cornwall has the powers and resources that will allow it to create the jobs and services it knows are best suited to the area and that will help local people and the county thrive.” 

He added that he hopes this will be the first of many devolution deals for counties around the country as part of our long-term economic plan. 

Cllr Mark Hawthorne, acting chair of the County Councils Network, said given the potential benefits of devolution to county areas, “we expect to see the deal grow and develop over time, as the Greater Manchester deal has”. 

“CCN have been leading calls for devolution to non-urban areas, which already account for 41% of England’s GVA and nearly 50% of its population. Today’s historic deal will allow Cornwall to take much greater control of its own affairs and tailor solutions to meet the needs of its people and economy,” added Cllr Hawthorne. 

“Today’s agreement also sets a precedent for bringing more decisions and services closer to county communities across England, and could see the potential of county economies maximised to help meet government growth targets and plans to boast productivity.” 

(Image: c. mousehole_newlyn)

Tell us what you think – have your say below or email


Ian Williams   16/07/2015 at 13:05

"Cornwall first county(?) to win devolution deal" That's because Cornwall had had a significant movement calling for devolution since at least the 1950s. It's not just been thought up by central government, or because it's been a big issue lately.

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