Cornish National Minority


The UK Government has been a signatory of the Council of Europe's Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities(FCNM) since 1995 and submits compliance reports on a regular basis (every five years). For copies of all UK Government and Council of Europe reports see the Council of Europe's Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities website.

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The UK Government recognised the Cornish as a national minority in its fourth compliance report (submitted to the Council of Europe on 26 March 2015). This recognition was followed by a visit by a Council of Europe delegation to the UK and Cornwall in March 2016. The Council of Europe have published its Fourth Opinion and the UK Government has published a Commentary to this.

Cornwall Council has also produced a bite-sized guide to the Cornish Minority Status and the Framework Convention.

The Government announced on 2 February 2017 a new Cornish Culture Fund of £100,00 over two years (2017 - 2019).

The grant is intended to further support the development of Cornish Culture and heritage, including the Cornish language.

Although Cornwall Council welcome this announcement of funding to help promote Cornwall’s cultural distinctiveness, we are very disappointed with the small amount of funding provided. 

Furthermore until  August 2016 the Government, which has recognised the Cornish language as a British minority language, had provided up to £150,000 a year to support the Cornish Language but then made the decision to stop this funding suddenly.  

Cornwall Council is committed to ensuring the Cornish can access the linguistic and cultural rights accorded by the Framework Convention.

Tenders were advertised in May 2017 and contracts subsequently awarded to two community interest companies – “Golden Tree” to improve public engagement and general awareness and understanding of the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities (FCNM) across Cornwall and “Azook” to tackle educational barriers to Cornish culture that exist within the educational curriculum in Cornwall.

In June 2016 the UK voted to leave the EU. This caused concern among some community groups about whether the Council of Europe's protection of national minorities would still be upheld after the UK leaves the EU and whether UK Government will be committed to carrying on supporting the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities.

Cornwall Council contacted the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government on these questions. They confirmed on 13 February 2017 that:

The Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities is a Council of Europe instrument, and has nothing to do with the European Union. The UK ratified the Framework Convention in 1998 and this will be unaffected by the UK leaving the EU.

Cornwall Council has a Members Working Group on Cornish Minority Status, which includes officers from across the Council and representatives from all political parties to co-ordinate activity (please see below). Please also see the Cornish Language Office for information about Cornish language strategies and plans. See Equality and Diversity for information about equality.

Cornwall Council is in regular contact with both the Council of Europe and the UK Government department responsible for the Framework Convention (MHCLG). The Council submitted information to the UK Government to support the development of the fourth Compliance Report and hosted the visit by the Council of Europe delegation in March 2016. The Council regularly lobbies the UK Government to ensure that the provisions of the Framework Convention are addressed.

Cornwall Council’s Constitution and Governance Committee established a Members Working Group in 2015. The main functions of the Working Group are to: 

  • lead promote and celebrate Cornish National Minority Status by eliminating unlawful discrimination, advancing equality of opportunity and fostering good relations;
  • draft an action plan to address the provisions of the Framework Convention and monitor its implementation;
  • to provide supporting information for the Advisory Committee Opinion on the UK Government’s compliance reports and to formulate a response in respect to future compliance reports;
  • to play an advisory role in liaising with the Council of Europe and UK Government in regards to the Framework Convention.

The Members Working Group is chaired by Cllr Jesse Foot and reports to the Constitution and Governance Committee on a regular basis.

Agendas and minutes

Other documents