Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Currie admits - "We did what the Government wanted us to do"

Deputy Leader Jim Currie told Cornwall councillors today that the administration submitted a plan for a Local Enterprise Partnership controlled by the private sector "because that is what the Government wanted us to do".

As I blogged yesterday, the Council's LEP bid is flawed because it proposes that the new organisation should be chaired and run by the private sector and because it will seek to bid for contracts well away from Cornwall - presumably in a bid to make money. In my view, because the new LEP will control vast amounts of taxpayers' money, it should have democratic accountability and be led by elected councillors working in genuine partnership with the business and voluntary sectors.

So today a number of councillors including my Lib Dem colleague Edwina Hannaford and myself pressed Cllr Currie on the decision to hand over control to unaccountable interests. His response was, as stated above, that they did so because that is what they believe the Government wants.

Surely the LEP bid should seek a structure which reflects what Cornwall and its people need, not simply what the Government wants. It seems as though the administration has abandoned any concept of localism altogether. This is also true of the decision to pursue contracts outside Cornwall. Such a move would dilute the focus on Cornwall, its needs and problems.

(Note: Jim Currie's words are based on my hastily scribbled notes taken during the meeting. As soon as the webcast is available readers will have the chance to view the actual statement.)

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