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Cornwall Council votes to accept devolution offered by government, details now published

At the Full Council meeting of 14 July, the devolution package offered by central government was debated in a closed session and, in the vote that followed, members voted by a large majority to support it. At that stage, the details were confidential.

On 16 July, government formally announced the details of the deal and the Prime Minister came to Cornwall to sign the document.

The deal is a much more modest proposal than the Case for Cornwall being promoted by Cornwall Council. I feel that the package offered by the government is a good starting point for devolution. It includes items that the Council can concentrate on implementing over the next couple of years. If we make a success with these new powers, then we will be in a better position to ask for other powers in due course. This was why I voted for the proposal to accept the government's offer.

The most significant element of the package will allow Cornwall to take the power to regulate local transport. This is the first time since bus services were deregulated over 20 years ago, that a rural area is being allowed to control local transport. What it means in practice is that Cornwall Council will decide which bus services should run, setting the routes, the timetables and the fares. It will then invite bus companies to tender for the right to provide that service with, in most cases, the bus company providing the vehicle and driver, but in some cases, the Council may provide the vehicle and the bus company just provides the driver. Fare income would come to the Council. This will enable the Council to run an system more in line with the needs of local residents and without wasteful competition between different operators on the same routes. It will take 2-3 years to bring the new system into operation. More details will follow in due course.

The other elements of the devolution package include the following:

  • Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership will work with Government to re-shape further education training and learning provision for adults, with implementation of new arrangements from 2017.
  • Government will work with local partners to jointly identify and develop new apprenticeship opportunities.
  • Cornwall will have Intermediate Body status for two European Union structural funds (European Regional Development Fund and European Social Fund), with responsibility to select projects from April 2016.
  • Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership and Government will work together to integrate local and national business support services, to make it easier for local businesses to find the support they need to grow.
  • Government will work with local partners to support renewable energy by inviting local partners to submit proposals for a low carbon enterprise zone linked to geothermal energy.
  • Government will work with Cornwall Council to consider how support for energy efficiency improvements in homes can take best account of local knowledge. Government will also consider what role it could play in helping to address energy network constraints within the South West region.
  • Cornwall Council, Council of the Isles of Scilly and local health organisations will be invited to produce a business plan for the integration of health and social care services.
  • More joint working between Government and local public sector organisations to transform local services and improve efficiencies in the public estate as part of the One Public Estate initiative.
  • Government will invite local partners to create a Cornish Heritage Environment Forum

A copy of the document signed by the government, Cornwall Council and local partners can be downloaded from Devolution Deal


July 2015


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