Greater local control in a post-Brexit Britain should gain increasing importance, according to a new devolution plan for Cornwall.
As the UK prepares to leave the European Union, the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Leadership Board has created the New Frontiers plan to “support a local economy that works for everyone” by building global industries, growing skills and wages and protecting our heritage and environment.
According to a recent report, New Frontiers has the potential to increase the region’s contribution into the UK economy by £2 billion and to support the delivery of at least 20,000 additional jobs by 2030.
If supported by central government, the ambitious plan will make Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly the world’s first ‘net extractor’ of marine plastics, ensuring less plastic enters the sea and that more is extracted.
It will also boost our renewable energy, creative and digital technologies, space technology and lithium mining industries. Lithium is the raw material used in, among other things Tesla car batteries
Leader of Cornwall Council and chair of the Leadership Board for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, Adam Paynter, said: “We believe the New Frontiers plan could transform not just our regional economy but also the future prosperity of the country as a whole, issues that we know are important to people locally because you’ve told us.
“The Leadership Board of Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly is united in our ambition to persuade Government of the importance of matching our ambitious plans with the resources and powers necessary to make them a reality. The plan also outlines how we can close the gap between our economy and the UK average.”
As the first and only non-metropolitan area with an existing devolution deal, Cornwall has been a trailblazer for how devolved powers and funding can unleash a rural region’s potential.
Since 2015 Cornwall has used devolved powers to deliver benefits for the economy and the people of Cornwall including:
- levering £17 million private investment into our bus network, allowing an extra 700,000 journeys to travel by bus with the Cornish equivalent of London’s Oyster card
- levering £7.5 million private investment over three years into our Warm and Well programme, where we are making the homes of 1,300 vulnerable households in Cornwall cheaper to heat every year
- investing in new energy technologies such as deep geothermal that could provide electricity for thousands of homes if successful.
Paynter added: “Some people might argue that this second, more ambitious deal is a distraction when the country is at a major crossroads negotiating its future relationship with Europe. However, we believe is precisely the time to discuss opportunities – the moment when this country is exploring new trading opportunities and considering how new legislation will be developed.”
The Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Leadership Board includes Cornwall Council, Council of Isles of Scilly. Police and Crime Commissioner, Cornwall Association of Local Councils, NHS Kernow, Cornwall Health & Wellbeing Board, CIOS LEP, CIOS Local Nature Partnership, Cornwall Chamber of Commerce and representation from one of Cornwall’s members of Parliament