Greater autonomy over areas including green energy and adult education will be handed to Cornwall from Westminster after the council’s Cabinet committee approved a new level two devolution deal today.
Plans to draft a cross-party White Paper for Cornwall, setting out the authority’s ambitions for further dialogue with future Governments, were also approved.
The extraordinary Cabinet meeting, called at short notice after the proposed devolution deal was announced by the Chancellor in last week’s Autumn Statement, took place in Truro following a meeting of the Full Council.
The new devolution deal had been negotiated following the decision earlier this year not to pursue a level three deal, which would have required the introduction of a directly elected mayor for Cornwall.
It has been developed with the Council’s priority outcomes at its heart, with a focus on making Cornwall a brilliant place to be a child and grow up, and creating a thriving and sustainable Cornwall.
The proposed deal includes:
- Skills: Government will fully devolve the adult education budget from 2025, giving the Council control over how best to support adult learners, so we can make sure people have the right skills for the new industries developing in Cornwall, including those in the net zero economy.
- Green energy: The creation of a Cornwall Floating Offshore Wind (FLOW) Commission to bring clean energy to the shores of Cornwall and elsewhere quicker, enabling Cornwall to contribute to the delivery of the UK's targets for renewable generation.
- Cornish culture: The deal means Cornwall Council will be able to attend meetings of the British-Irish Council alongside the UK Government as an advisor on matters relating to the Cornish language. It also includes a further £500,000 to support Cornish distinctiveness and the Cornish language.
The plan was approved unanimously by Cabinet following a discussion and questions from fellow councillors.
Speaking after the meeting, Cllr Linda Taylor, Leader of Cornwall Council, said: “This is a fantastic day for Cornwall, and really good news for our residents.
“The new deal gives us further powers to develop the skills we need to take advantage of the new industries we are developing, as well as the opportunity to help shape national policy in vital areas such as floating offshore wind power.
“It also brings greater protections for our unique heritage and language, and gives us a voice on the British-Irish Council, which we have been calling for.
“We are also being clear, this is part of an ongoing process, and we want to see more autonomy being handed to Cornwall. I am determined this will be a cross-party effort, it is important that we hear from everyone in developing and laying out our future ambitions.
“This is a great step forward, but it must be part on an ongoing journey.”
Posted Tuesday, November 28, 2023