Call for a Minister for Cornwall

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Lord Hutton

The leader of Cornwall Council and the chair of the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Economic Forum have written to the new Prime Minister calling for the appointment of a Minister for Cornwall.

In the letter, Cllr Linda Taylor and Lord Hutton have told Sir Keir Starmer that “a Minister would be pivotal to unleashing Cornwall’s ability to support the ambition of a stronger and more sustainable United Kingdom through our ability to contribute significantly to powering, feeding and acting as the lungs of the country”.

The letter also calls for fairer funding going forward and invites Sir Keir to visit Cornwall as soon as possible to “witness our positive progress and amazing potential first-hand’”

The letter reads:

Many congratulations on your election as Prime Minister. We look forward to working with you and your Labour Government on our mutual priorities, particularly deepening devolution and grasping a host of unrivalled opportunities to create good growth in Cornwall. We are confident both Yvette Cooper and Ed Miliband got a sense of that immense and limitless potential when they visited Cornwall last month on the campaign trail.

As you start to shape your Cabinet and ministerial team, we ask that you give serious consideration to appointing a Minister for Cornwall from either the Commons or Lords. This would ensure all Government departments and agencies respect the two Council of Europe treaties that afford the same legal status to the Cornish that apply to the people of Wales, Scotland and Ireland – all of whom benefit from having Secretary of States, Minister of States, Government Offices, plus devolved administrations with First Ministers.

Furthermore, a Minister would be pivotal to unleashing Cornwall’s ability to support the ambition of a stronger and more sustainable United Kingdom through our ability to contribute significantly to powering, feeding and acting as the lungs of the country.

Realising that potency is fundamental to realising our own 30-year vision to deliver a bold shared ambition to create a greener, cleaner Cornwall by 2050, that is also fairer and more inclusive.

Through the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Leadership Board, all sectors and partners, have been united in keeping a laser-like focus on incrementally realising those ambitions since the Cornwall Plan was agreed in 2020.

However, we want and need to go further and faster on progress. To that end, and in anticipation of the General Election, we have a Cornwall White Paper and Good Growth Strategy in ‘wet-ink’ setting out our ambition to deepen Cornwall’s current devolution settlement to pursue good and clean growth, create jobs and improve living standards.

Therefore, given your manifesto commitment to transfer power out of Westminster and transition to a clean-energy economy and ‘superpower’, we respectively suggest and request that Cornwall is the first area to translate those pledges into practical delivery – with a dedicated Minister driving that fundamental shift from Whitehall to Cornwall.

Our Cornwall White Paper and new Good Growth Strategy work hand-in-glove to set out how, with the support of Government, we can unleash an extraordinary combination of distinctive growth sectors: critical minerals, renewable energy, space and marine. This heady and unrivalled mix is a product of both our geological and environmental assets as well as our culture and history of innovation and ingenuity.

Over the long term we are confident that an empowered Cornwall, armed with the ability to realise the aforementioned opportunities, can become less dependent on funding from Westminster.

However, in order to reach that goal and address the acute challenges faced today, we also urgently need a promise of funding to sustain growth and services for 2025/26 and thereafter a fairer funding formula that gives justified weight to population profile, sparsity, deprivation and socio-economic factors that are driving demand and cost.

To conclude, as was the case during the first industrial revolution, a geographically peripheral Cornwall is once again central to a more sustainable United Kingdom. On this occasion, Cornwall is ideally positioned to lead a ‘green industrial revolution’ as the centerpiece of your Green Prosperity Plan.

As your close colleagues will have undoubtedly witnessed on their recent visits, an empowered Cornwall has so much to offer in return if our potency is unleashed by you and your Labour Government.

We look forward to hearing from you Prime Minister and it would be a pleasure to welcome you to Cornwall so you can witness our positive progress and amazing potential first-hand.