Sunday, 14 June 2015

Devon's Top Tory wants Devonwall

Devon County Council's Leader - Conservative John Hart - has said that Cornwall and Devon should join together (with Somerset as well) to seek new powers from government.

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote that the new Tory government was planning on giving new powers to regions, but only in the form of combined council areas. It would appear that Cornwall, on its own, would not be enough. And what's more, such a combined authority would also need a directly elected 'mayor' before being allowed to take on new housing, policing, planning and transport powers.

In this matter, does Cllr Hart represent Cornwall Conservatives? We know that their group on Cornwall Council has refused to back the 'Case for Cornwall' a plan to bring a wider range of powers and responsibilities into local control. Would they be happier to see powers instead devolved to Devonwall?

Incidentally, it seems that civil servants have indicated that Cornwall may be treated as a special case for devolution. They have told council leaders that there will be an audience for the case for Cornwall which is far beyond the devolution proposed for other areas. I very much hope that is the case, but I think it will rely on advocacy from Cornwall's six MPs, all of whom are now Conservatives.

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