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