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Cornwall's so-called "devolution deal" - three years on
Cornwall Council recently published an impact assessment on the so-called “devolution deal,” that was agreed between it and the UK Government in 2015. The document sets out what has happened over the last three years or so.
An accompanying press statement described how the agreement was “ground-breaking,” and added that Cornwall had made history by being the “first rural authority to achieve such a deal.”

People may remember that, at the time, the UK Government claimed it was a “major step” in their commitment to “extend opportunity to every corner of our country” and that Cornwall would be gaining “historic new powers.”

I see it very differently and I do not consider that the “devolution deal” was about devolution at all. It would be churlish not to acknowledge that it contained some stuff of merit, but it was essentially an accommodation between the UK Government and local government in Cornwall on a limited range of specific matters.

I cannot see how anyone can keep arguing it was significant, especially as it did not even need legislation in the House of Commons to be agreed.

It is such a contrast to what has happened in Scotland and Wales where, this year, people will be celebrating the twentieth anniversary of the creation of the National Assembly of Wales and the Scottish Parliament.

The Scottish Parliament has planned a year-long programme of events to celebrate what has been achieved over the past two decades and it is an impressive list. It has legislated for free personal care for the elderly, free eye and dental tests, an end to prescription charges, an end to tuition fees for students, the introduction of votes for sixteen year olds, numerous land reforms and much, much more. They also brought the 2014 Commonwealth Games to Glasgow.

In addition, the Scottish Parliament has proved to be an institution which has been able to champion the best interests of Scotland. This has especially been the case in recent years, when it has fought to ensure that the Westminster Parliament knows what would be in the best interests of Scottish communities.

Here in Cornwall, we need a similar body that has the power and authority to make the key decisions about the political, economic, environmental and cultural issues that matters to us all.

Anyone interested in finding out more, can request a free copy of MK’s booklet “Towards a National Assembly of Cornwall” from me at dickcole@btinternet.com.
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By Dick Cole. Published on 25th February 2019.

Cornish Assembly Campaign
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