Skip to main content

Localism, Devonwall and how to bring Cornish jobs back

This blog is not about the proposed Devonwall constituency that the government is imposing upon Cornwall and our dear neighbours. It is about the very real and insidious Devonwall that has beset Cornwall for decades. In this blog I am no arguing for notions of national identity, culture or history but about real bona fide jobs and how Cornwall is missing out on them. How we can and must harness localism to bring jobs back this side of the Tamar.

Devonwall has been around a long while, successive governments have sought to amalgamate services and departments of governance between Cornwall and Devonshire. Whether because they wanted offices closer to London, or they wanted to shore up electoral support in the key constituencies of Exeter and Plymouth, or they simply didn't care for Cornwall's economy, the result is the same, jobs moved eastward. With those jobs went more of Cornwall's decision making powers, I am not even talking about devolution here just the sort of decision making that English counties mostly enjoy.

The result of this centralisation is that the Cornish taxpayer involuntarily has 'outsourced' administration and management to Devon and the 'wider south west'. Devon and Cornwall Police is based in Exeter, the Startegic Health Authority is based in Taunton, Westcountry Ambulance Service based in Plymouth, and so the list goes on. It would take someone with a degree in finance and a masters in internet research to work out how many jobs are at these sites and what proportion of funding from Cornwall supports these offices and staff. But I think it's fair to say it is a lot of  money and a lot of jobs and all of these amalgamated offices aren't in Cornwall.
David Cameron told This Is Cornwall, (Nov 27th 2010):

"I think Cornish national identity is very powerful – people feel a great affinity with Cornwall. We're going to devolve a lot of power to Cornwall – that will go to the Cornish unitary authority."

The real question and challenge for Cornish politicians is how to buck this trend, how to keep Cameron to his word and how to harness the governments localism bill into bringing jobs back to Cornwall. So by a process of decentralisation the Cornish taxpayer no longer pays others to do jobs we could easily do here. We must encourage the government's proposals to bring power back to the town hall, if we can uncouple these services mentioned and others it would be a great boost for Cornwall's economy.

Our economy is still in a bad state we under perform in comparison to anywhere in the UK and most comparable regions of the EU and the fact that Westminster has been hitherto reluctant to keep public sector jobs in Cornwall has not helped. We still face a situation whereby Cornish youngsters leave Kernow in search of meaningful employment and those that stay earn well below UK average wages, localism offers an opportunity to alleviate some of these problems.

On the subject of localism, I very much hope that any jobs that are brought back to Cornwall are not all lumped together in Truro. Here in Penzance they would be very welcomed as I am sure they would be in Helston, Hayle, Bodmin, Wadebridge, Liskeard and a whole host of other towns. In terms of implementing this plan there are many buildings that used to house the old district councils (in Penzance for example) surely these could be adapted and/ or Cornwall Council could share offices with devolved bodies.

Popular posts from this blog

Cornwall LEP announces public consultations (at last)

So here we are 12 months and 17 days since the LEP bid was announced as successful by the coalition government and the LEP has announced public consultations. Only a day after I blogged criticising the LEP for a lack of discernible action such as consultations. So I was pleased to read of the roadshows being announced on the Business Cornwall newsite, as much as I have criticisms of the LEP particularly their lack of action, I do believe people should turn up listen to what they have to say and give feedback, criticisms and forward their own ideas (list of venues copied below). As much as the MK member in me wants to make party political points about the coalition and their poor economic record in Cornwall, we need the LEP to work for the sake of the Cornish economy and it is imperative upon both the businesses of Cornwall and the public to engage with the LEP and influence it. In particular here the public, despite being funded by taxpayers we have had no say in who should be on the…

A breath of fresh air at Penzance Town Council

The election has certainly rung a great many changes at Penzance Town Council. There are now 12 brand new councillors (although Simon Reed has been on the council before). Between retirements and not getting re-elected not a single mayor that served between 2013-2017 is now on the council and only 1 that served as deputy mayor in that time are still on the council. A number of former mayors, deputy mayors and chairs and vice chairs of committees are also no longer with the council. Or to put it another way many of the active town councillors that formed the approach and policies of the town council in the past are no longer there pulling the strings.

When I was first elected back in 2013 there was a feeling that (long overdue) change had been brought to the council, that those new people elected had brought change. That was the feeling with 8 new councillors elected and 12 of the existing councillors being re-elected. This time around there are 12 new councillors and only 8 from befo…

Meeting with Premier Inn about proposed Branwell's Mill development

As many of you will have read online and in the local papers. Premier Inn are interested in setting up a hotel in Branwell's Mill in Penzance. Last night members of the Town Council were invited to a presentation by the agents from the hotel chain in St John's Hall. The Town Council rightly has a clear position that it is neutral on this development. Due to Code of Conduct rules and particularly Section 25 of the Localism Act, councillors must not enter debates with a closed mind. Or to put in plain terms the council and councillors can not be seen to have made a decision before the meeting and before they see the facts before them of that meeting. As with any planning application in the parish of Penzance it will be reviewed, debated and voted on by Penzance Town Council  Added to the fact that I've seen a presentation for the developers but not been able to speak to hear other sides of the story. This post is primarily to inform yourselves of what is happening rather th…