10:26 am, June 13, 2014
Support for Cornwall to be given greater control over the spending of the next round of European funding is gathering pace with more businesses backing the campaign to #standupforcornwall.
Cornwall Council has joined forces with the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly LEP and other stakeholders to lobby the Government to allow Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly to retain the power to decide how the European funding allocated to the region should be spent over the next six years.
The Government is considering a proposal to set up a new national programme which would take away Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly’s (C&IoS) ability to make decisions.
This, claims the Council, would jeopardise the creation of new jobs and growth and create additional challenges in delivering economic development.
Instead partners are calling for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly to retain its Operational Programme which sets out the strategy, governance and delivery mechanisms for the 2014-2020 European Programme.
Earlier this week a letter signed by the leaders of all political groups on the Council was sent to Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg expressing concern over the creation of a middle-man between Cornwall and Europe.
Yesterday (June 12) Julian German, the Council’s cabinet member for economy and culture, was in London where he asked Lord Heseltine and Government Minister Greg Clark for their support. He also met with Sir Merrick Cockell, Chairman of the Local Government Association, to ensure the LGA’s continued support.
A number of leading businesses have added their voices to the campaign, with James Staughton, the MD of St Austell Brewery the latest to express his support. Other businesses and organisations which have already signed up include the Cornwall Chamber of Commerce, the Federation of Small Businesses, Imerys, Cornwall Manufacturers Group, Cornwall Marine Network Limited and CoaST.
German said: “We have been making the case for greater devolution of the 2014-20 EU programme for some time and believe a more local approach will lead to greater investment in the region and create more jobs. It’s a win-win for Cornwall.
“We have successfully delivered two EU investment programmes over the last 14 years which have, so far, created 24,707 jobs. It would be a huge backward step if we were to lose our Operational Programme after 14 years at a time when government policy is for more devolution to regions.”