May 21, 2024

South West News

South West News from Gloucestershire to Cornwall

More power for local leaders as Cornwall is invited to negotiate historic ‘County Deal’

Local leaders in Cornwall are set to get more control over areas such as transport, infrastructure and skills in the largest devolution of power from Whitehall to local leaders in England in modern times, the Department for Levelling Up Housing and Communities announced today.

Cornwall is one of nine county areas invited to negotiate a historic ‘County Deal’ – a new devolution model that, subject to negotiations, will give local leaders more powers to make decisions for their communities for the first time – part of a ‘devolution revolution’ across England.

This could include greater control over buses and trains, to deliver London style public transport or skills programmes which focus on local the needs of local people to help them access the high quality, high paying jobs of the future.

The plans are set out in the Levelling Up White Paper, published today, which outlines our blueprint for driving up living standards and improving opportunity and prosperity across the country.

Building on the success of mayors like Andy Street and Ben Houchen.  The government wants more areas to have a high-profile, directly elected leader who will be accountable to local citizens and act as a champion for their areas. 

Secretary of State for Levelling Up Rt Hon Michael Gove MP said: “The United Kingdom is an unparalleled success story. But not everyone shares equally in the UK’s success and for decades, too many communities have been overlooked and undervalued.

“Levelling Up and this White Paper is about ending this historic injustice and calling time of the postcode lottery.

“But we know that each town, city and county that makes up the UK is unique, with its own history, culture, challenges and pressures. That’s why we are making an historic change to put power in the hands of people who know their communities best, to drive real change so that where you live will no longer determine how far you go.”

Linda Taylor, Leader of Cornwall Council said: “We welcome today’s news. Cornwall has always been at the forefront of the Government’s devolution agenda – having been the first rural unitary authority in the country to secure a devolution deal in 2015.

“As we bounce forward from the pandemic Cornwall is ideally placed to work with Government to provide a blue print for a new deal for a non-metropolitan area. 

“We look forward to working with Government in the coming months to secure a deal that is good for the residents of Cornwall, good for our economy and levels up the life chances of every child growing up in Cornwall today.”

To help local leaders unlock the benefits of devolution, the government has for the first time published a devolution framework with a clear menu of options for areas considering a devolution deal, which could include moving towards a London-style transport system to connect people to opportunity, improving local skills provision, or being able to act more flexibly and innovatively to respond to the needs of their communities.

The nine areas which will now negotiate a pioneering County Deal are Cornwall; Derbyshire and Derby; Devon, Plymouth and Torbay; Durham; Hull and East Yorkshire; Leicestershire; Norfolk; Nottinghamshire and Nottingham; and Suffolk.

These ambitious plans will be set out in the Levelling Up White Paper, outlining our strategy to boost living standards, spread opportunity, improve public services and restore local pride across the UK. 

Read the White Paper here