Thursday, 23 April 2015

Cameron pledges public money for Stadium. What does Scott Mann say?

David Cameron has today promised public money to fund a Stadium for Cornwall. Speaking to Tamsin Melville on BBC Radio Cornwall, he said:

"If it takes some extra money, I'd make that money available"

On the one hand this is a pretty blatant election bribe. Neither Mr Cameron nor anyone else in the Conservative Party has said anything like this before. Yet he happens to be able to come up with this very specific commitment during a visit to West Cornwall. Hmm.

On the other hand, where does this leave North Cornwall Conservative candidate Scott Mann? Scott famously resigned 'on a point of principle' as Deputy Leader of the Conservative Group when it was proposed to put public money behind the stadium. Is he happy that Mr Cameron should now be backing such spending?

To be clear, the principle of a stadium for Cornwall is one which the vast majority of people in Cornwall (myself included) support. It has been given planning permission and those behind the scheme have continually said that they will find the money privately. I wish them the very best of luck. But, for all of its benefits, any public money which goes into a stadium is money which is not available for spending on nurses, caring for vulnerable people, libraries, roads or whatever.

The current backlog of maintenance for Cornwall's leisure centres is up to £15 million. The total cost of a stadium - up to £15 million. If that amount of money is available from the public purse, then I would argue that it should be spent on the leisure facilities that truly benefit the whole of Cornwall.

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