It has been a tumultuous, worrying week for Cornwall. What excactly is happening to our European Convergence funding?
The one thing I don’t quite understand is, why all the uncertainty? Presumably the Government knows what it is doing? Surely as it sets the agenda, it knows what its intentions are. So why can it not tell us?
Since it was revealed that the South West RDA received an email at the end of last week from the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills which led it to freezing permissions on new projects, the silence has been deafening.
And it would appear that Cornwall’s MPs, who are all members of the coalition, are equally in the dark about the future of Convergence. At least the Lib Dem trio in the last couple of days have been jumping up and down making some noise.
Consequently, with so few facts to go on, speculation has been rife. Some say it is all a storm in a tea cup and that everything will be all right. Funding is just under temporary review. Maybe so, but why nothing official?
Others say we are about to lose the lot, sending millions of pounds back to Brussels. They say the Next Generation Broadband project, which is seen as vital to Cornwall’s future prosperity, is being shelved. I have even heard a rumour the Government is stopping the Convergence Programme because it will then be entitled to a rebate from Brussels. Surely that can’t be true can it? That would be an outrage.
This Government has only been in office a few weeks and I know there are some tough choices to be made. But the manner in which it is dealing with this and Cornwall’s feelings, does it no credit.