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Chancellor's Budget fails to deliver ‘levelling up’ promises for Cornwall

Cornwall Council’s leader has expressed his disappointment at the government’s Budget announcement.

The new Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, yesterday revealed details of its spending plans for Britain, against the backdrop of the coronavirus outbreak, and its promises to ‘level up’ the country.

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The Chancellor announced a £600 billion investment in infrastructure and ‘three-point plan’ in response to the coronavirus, repeatedly stating that his Budget would “get things done”.

But Cornwall Council leader Julian German has raised concerns that the spending plans haven’t gone far enough to tackle regional inequality.

Councillor German said: “On behalf of the residents of Cornwall, I'm extremely disappointed that Cornwall hasn't done better from this Budget.

“Government has talked about 'levelling up', but what we've seen in the Budget is a new devolution deal in the north, government promising to move jobs out of London up to the north, and nothing there for Cornwall.”

Cornwall Council leader Julian German

Last month the UK2070 Commission published an independent inquiry into the deep-rooted inequalities within the UK.

Commission chairman Lord Kerslake said: “In many parts of the UK people feel they have been left behind by the growth in wealth and opportunity elsewhere.

“To succeed, we need to think about north and south, towns and cities, and urban and rural. The issues of economic underperformance and wellbeing affect all parts of the UK.”

Britain’s Leading Edge – a coalition of local councils and MPs from across England – also said that the majority of public funding and investment decisions go in favour of a “policy corridor” that neglects rural regions.

Over the last 10 years, Cornwall Council has had to make over £380 million worth of savings.

Despite this, the council has continued to deliver for local communities, providing vital services for people across Cornwall daily.

“I’m really disappointed that government haven't lived up to their promises,” added councillor German, “but I will continue to stand up for Cornwall, to call for fairer funding, and to fight for the powers and resources we need to deliver good services for all of our residents.”


Story published on March 12, 2020