Following the ten-week public consultation on the proposed Devolution Deal, Cornwall Council leader Linda Taylor says she is unable to recommend to her Cabinet that Cornwall pursues the full ‘Level 3’ option of a directly-elected Mayor.
The Level 3 option was for single institution or Unitary/County Council with a directly elected leader across a whole county area. With that would have come a significant Government investment.
In a statement issued this morning, Taylor said: “As a Cabinet we have always believed that devolution of powers and investment from Government is vital for the future prosperity of Cornwall. This is why we are so proud to have been asked last year to negotiate a further devolution deal with Government.
“During the ten-week consultation we have heard from thousands of residents, businesses and stakeholders from across Cornwall and have listened carefully to their views. It is clear that support has especially come from our young people, businesses and strategic partners who have all seen the benefit for the future of Cornwall.
“However, whilst there is considerable support for the proposed Cornwall Devolution Deal, there is also significant concern about the requirement to move to a directly elected mayor.
“In order to deliver on our commitment to the people of Cornwall that we will always listen and, where needed, take difficult decisions, it is with the greatest regret that I am unable to recommend to my Cabinet accepting a deal that includes the requirement for a directly elected mayor during the remainder of this administration.
“I will instead be recommending that the Council pursue a Level 2 deal that seeks to retain as many of the elements of the Level 3 deal as possible, including those that were overwhelmingly supported through the consultation, such as a £10 million per year devolved adult education budget so that training and skills provision meets the needs of the local economy. This cannot be the end for devolution in Cornwall, indeed as a Cabinet, we remain committed to our goal of having more decisions about Cornwall being made locally.
“While a Level 2 deal does not include the £360 million investment fund, or the £8.7 million promised for brownfield housing development, there are a number of areas where we can work with Government to secure the best possible outcome for Cornwall and our residents, while recognising that devolution is a continuous process and not the result of a single negotiated event.”