Cornwall's Liberal Democrat councillors are calling on the Council to back a campaign for a local approach to administering European and central government support for the Duchy. The campaign comes after the Government took the decision to abolish the unaccountable Regional Development Agencies and replace them with Local Enterprise Partnerships.
The coalition government has quite rightly made localism a key policy. If there are funds available from Europe or from central government to assist Cornish development and Cornish industry then it should be accountable local politicians and business leaders who should oversee how that money is spent."
Until now, Cornwall has been lumped in with places as far away as Wiltshire and Bristol under the unaccountable and hugely bureaucratic South West Development Agency. Cornwall was recognised by Europe as the poorest place in the UK and received large amounts of support through Objective One and Convergence funding. Yet these funds were allocated by a body which had no accountability to the people of Cornwall and which wasted large amounts on needless paperwork and form filling. Whilst many great projects have been funded, other monies were wasted on white elephants.
We welcome the Government's decision to abolish the RDA and we believe that the best way of deciding how so-called structural funding is spent in the future is for local councillors and business leaders to assess bids and monitor spending. We are confident that this process will be quicker, cheaper and able to support the projects that will bring the most benefits to the people of Cornwall.
Whilst we would be happy to go ahead with a Cornwall only LEP, we believe that the Council of the Isles of Scilly should be invited to participate in a joint LEP should they wish to do so.
Our motion calling for a Cornwall Local Enterprise Partnership will be debated at the next full Cornwall Council meeting on July 27th. We hope that Cornwall Conservatives will live up to the rhetoric of their leaders in London and back us without equivocation.
Full text of the motion submitted by Cornwall Council Liberal Democrats is:
Abolition of South West Development Agency
- welcomes the decision by the Government to abolish the undemocratic South West Development Agency and to establish Local Enterprise Partnerships to provide strategic leadership on economic priorities and to create the right environment for business and growth by looking at issues like planning, housing and transport;
- further welcomes the establishment of a Regional Growth Fund to create the conditions for growth and enterprise in the regions by stimulating investment and create sustainable private sector jobs;
- believes that Cornwall Council and local businesses are best placed to manage the delivery of Government and European support to projects in Cornwall;
- resolves that the Council shall propose to Government how Cornwall will efficiently and effectively manage it’s own LEP rather than one which combines Cornwall with any other part of the mainland UK;
- believes that an invitation should be extended to the Council of the Isles of Scilly to join with Cornwall in a joint LEP should they wish to do so.