The leader of Cornwall Council has called on residents to get the facts and have their say on a devolution deal offering extra funding and greater local decision-making for Cornwall.
Cllr Linda Taylor is urging everyone to take part in a public consultation for the proposed Cornwall Devolution Deal which runs until February 17 and to give their views, whether in favour or not, at https://letstalk.cornwall.gov.uk/bigdeal.
A series of information sessions are starting this month for people to find out more and ask questions about what the deal could mean for Cornwall’s future.
If approved, the proposed deal would bring Cornwall £390 million in funding, more decisions about Cornwall being made locally and greater influence in government, with additional powers passing to the council in legislation.
To secure the deal, the council would need to change from having a leader elected by the council’s 87 members to a mayor directly elected by the people of Cornwall.
The mayor would give Cornwall a stronger voice to government and have greater influence by joining a small group of mayors, from other areas, who meet regularly with ministers and officials.
Government believes the most effective form of leadership is through elected mayors who are prominent and directly accountable to the electorate through the ballot box.
Cllr Taylor said: “In the past weeks I’ve noticed some myths and rumours about the proposed deal. These are some of the most common and the facts about them:
“’We can get the deal that is on offer without a directly elected mayor.’ This is not true. We cannot pick and choose what we want from the devolution deal on offer. The government has made it clear that the proposed deal is only available if the council changes the way it is currently governed from a council leader to a council mayor, directly elected by the people of Cornwall every four years. No mayor, no deal.
“’A mayor will cost Cornwall a million pounds a year.’ This is wrong. Introducing a directly elected mayor will be cost neutral to Cornwall with any new costs associated with the mayor met from additional resources that Cornwall gets from the devolution deal and not from the Cornwall council tax-payer. The council already has staff supporting the leader and this support would remain in place for the mayor. Also, the allowance provided to the leader would be put towards the allowance that full council decides the mayor should have – having taken into account recommendations made by an independent panel.
“’Introducing a directly elected mayor is an extra layer of bureaucracy.’ Not true. A mayor for Cornwall Council would replace the current role of the leader of Cornwall Council – it is not adding another role. The mayor would represent the people of Cornwall to government and be directly elected by the people of Cornwall. No extra layer of bureaucracy, no extra red tape.
“’We will get the money from the deal whatever happens.’ Not true. The 30-year £360m Investment Fund has been negotiated as part of a devolution deal which requires the introduction of a mayor directly elected by the people of Cornwall. If we reject the deal, we won’t get this funding. No mayor, no £360m.
“Any finally…’what is the point of responding when you’ve already made your minds up.’ This is also not true. This is too big a decision to make without consulting the people of Cornwall. That’s also why the consultation period is 10 weeks, from December 9 to February 17, to allow plenty of time to have your say and let us know whether you are in favour or not.
“In March our Cabinet will consider the outcome of the public consultation and whether to proceed with the proposed deal. The final decision will be made by our full council in July.
“When we launched the deal last month, I asked everyone to simply keep an open mind. Now, in a new year, I’m urging you as residents to study the information and make your own mind up based on the facts rather than the rumours.
“In uncertain times, we need to seize every chance to determine our own future. Come to one of our sessions to find out more about what this could mean for Cornwall’s future.”
Devolution public consultation events:
St Austell: Monday, 16 Jan, 6.30pm, Penrice Academy Hall, Charlestown Road, St Austell, PL25 3NR
Redruth: Wednesday, 18 Jan, 6.30pm, Redruth Community Centre, Foundry Row, Redruth, TR15 1AW
Bodmin: Friday, 20 Jan, 6.30pm, Bell Hall, Bodmin College, Lostwithiel Road, Bodmin, PL31 1DD
Newquay: Monday, 23 Jan, 6.30pm, Newquay Tretherras School, Trevenson Road, Newquay, TR7 3BH
Truro: Tuesday, 24 Jan 22, 6.30pm, County Hall, Treyew Road, Truro, TR1 3AY
Saltash: Thursday, 26 Jan, 6.30pm, Saltash Guildhall, Saltash Town Council, Lower Fore Street, PL12 6JX
Falmouth: Friday, 27 Jan, 6.30pm, Sunley Lecture Theatre, National Maritime Museum, Discovery Quay, Falmouth, TR11 3QY
Penzance: Monday, 30 Jan 6.30pm St Johns Hall, Alverton Street, Penzance, TR18 2QR
Bude: Monday, 6 Feb, 6.30pm, The Falcon Hotel – Function Room, Breakwater Road, Bude EX23 8SD
Launceston: Tuesday, 7 Feb, 6.30pm, Main Hall, Launceston Town Hall, Western Road, Launceston PL15 7AR More events are being planned with details to be shared.
If you can’t make it to an event you can find out more about what the deal means for Cornwall in our summary document online and have your say, whether in favour of the proposed deal or not. You can find details of the deal here https://letstalk.cornwall.gov.uk/bigdeal.
Story posted January 6, 2023