Devolution


2022 Cornwall Devolution Deal

What is devolution?

Devolution happens when;

  • powers,
  • funding
  • and decisions

which would usually be held, and determined by central government, are transferred to local authorities, such as Cornwall Council.

Why are we considering a new devolution deal now?

Cornwall was the first rural area of the country to negotiate one of the first devolution deals with Government in 2015.

Cornwall has delivered the deal over the past seven years, which has brought many benefits to residents and local communities.

Benefits include;

  • better transport
  • investment in skills
  • and exploration of deep geothermal power

You can view these benefits in more detail in the Cornwall Devolution Impact Report.

Read the Cornwall Devolution Deal Impact ReportIn 2021 the Government announced that new devolution deals (so called “County Deals”) would be negotiated with non-metropolitan areas as part of its Levelling Up agenda.

The Government’s intention is to enable places like Cornwall to benefit from the same powers that have already been devolved to metropolitan areas.

In February 2022, the Government published the Levelling Up the United Kingdom white paper.

Read the Levelling up white paper

This set out their plans to reduce regional inequality by 2030. These plans are underpinned by 12 missions.

Mission 12 commits Government to offering devolution deals, at three different levels, to any area that wants one.

As part of commitment, the Government announced that Cornwall would be one of nine county areas invited to develop a devolution deal. In Cornwall’s case, its second deal, to build on the success of the first deal set out in 2015.

What are the principles for devolution set out by Government, and what does this mean for Cornwall?

In the Levelling Up white paper, Government offers areas opportunities to secure;

  • devolved powers
  • funding
  • and influence

based on a ‘devolution framework.’

The following four principles underpin the new ‘devolution framework’. This is set out by Government and will guide the negotiations on all devolution deals in England.

Principle one: Effective leadership

  • The Government firmly believes there are benefits from having a directly elected leader. Who is; prominent and accountable.

Principle two: Sensible geography

  • To access powers, devolution deals should be agreed over a whole county geography. They should have a single institution in place across that geographic footprint.

Principle three: Flexibility

  • The three levels of devolution set out in the framework define a clear and consistent set of pathways to enable deals to be tailored to each area.

Principle four: Appropriate accountability

  • Local leaders and institutions with devolution deals need to be transparent and accountable. Seeking the best value for taxpayer’s money.

Three levels of devolution are available.

These depend on a specific type of governance model. The powers and investment available range from the highest Level 3, to the lowest Level 1.

  • Level 3 – A single institution or Unitary/County Council with a directly elected leader across a whole county area
  • Level 2 – A single institution or Unitary/County Council without a directly elected leader, across a whole county area
  • Level 1 – Local authorities working together across a whole county area e.g. through a joint committee

Cornwall Council already holds the majority of powers and investment available at Level 2.

We have asked the Government for a Level 3 deal for Cornwall without a directly elected leader.

In response, the Government has made it clear that the principles of the devolution framework set out in the White Paper stand.

Cornwall Council received a letter from the Secretary of State for Department for Levelling-Up, Housing and Communities confirming the requirements of a Level 3 devolution deal.

Read the Letter from the Secretary of State for Department for Levelling-Up

The extra benefits of a Level 3 deal, including long-term investment funds are reserved for those areas adopting the required governance of a directly elected leader.

What difference could a Level 3 devolution deal make?

The aims of a new Cornwall Devolution Deal are:

  • Transforming our economy, by creating new jobs, improving skills and attracting inward investment
  • Raising living standards and reducing inequalities and poverty
  • Providing better local services and quality affordable housing
  • Preserving and protecting the natural environment and supporting the move to net zero

It could make a big difference to Cornwall, enabling the Council to:

  • Target much needed funding and resources to our own priorities
  • Attract and keep new and key businesses and sectors
  • Invest in the skills we know we need
  • Unlock housing and employment sites
  • Increase our contribution to the UK economy
  • Raise our profile nationally, enabling our voice to be heard by Government and help shape future policies

Cornwall could benefit from millions of pounds of additional investment each year plus more certainty and control over longer term funding through:

  • A 30 year multi-million pound Cornwall Investment Fund, with an agreed annual allocation
  • Multi-year transport funding
  • Control of local development on brownfield sites
  • Design and delivery of employment projects

Where can I find out more information about Cornwall’s existing devolution deal and what this has achieved?

Need help?

Most issues can be resolved online, it's the quickest and most convenient way to get help.

Your feedback is important to us

Help us improve our service