Decades of Cornwall being entwined  in a vicious circle of either a Labour or Tory government, ensured Cornwall’s position as one of the poorest in Britain

After decades of an imposed English identity, it was in 2014 that the Cornish nation was finally recognised:

‘The decision to recognise the unique identity of the Cornish, now affords them the same status under the European Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities as the UK’s other Celtic people, the Scots, the Welsh and the Irish’

Yet Cornwall hasn’t been afforded that status similar to Wales and Scotland that have their own devolved governments.  The last Labour government emphasised devolution of power and engagement. To provide some teeth for Cornwall’s case for devolution, over 50,000 people signed declarations for a Cornish Assembly.  Labour’s contempt for Cornwall and those signatorties was clear;  it dismissed those declarations, even refusing to consider any meaningful engagement for greater powers for Cornwall. 

Fair funding?

The Tory-led council has dismissed calls to lobby Westminster for fairer funding; also the return of Cornwall’s EU funding (as promised by Steve Double MP) has failed to materialise. Yet the council recently announced the authority will need to save £55 million next year along with a council tax rise of a minimum 2.99%.   Mebyon Kernow councillor Loveday Jenkin said: “We are in a health crisis in Cornwall, we are in a situation where there is a widening gap between those who have and those who have not. This council is in a pivotal position to ensure we support our community and support those who are the have nots.  They are a large proportion of the population of Cornwall. It is 40% of the people of Cornwall that are in need of some sort of need.”  

Cornish Devolution: a fair and just settlement

Decades of Cornwall being entwined  in a vicious circle of either a Labour or Tory government, ensured Cornwall’s position as one of the poorest in Britain.  Westminster’s centralised control over most political decisions of real significance continues, removing power and financial resources to unelected bodies.  

A Cornish parliament with devolved powers such as housing and planning for example, is essential.  Cornwall’s own ‘National Planning Policy’ that can address housing for local-needs; affordable housing based upon Cornwall’s average wage.  Westminster’s current Planning Framework (of which many consider a ‘presumption in favour’ of development) has given rise to landlords owning multiple properties which local people can to little to prevent.  These landlords have threatened Cornish families with homelessness using ‘no-fault’ eviction.  Also devolved environment and heritage, including all forms of environment protection, flood defence and the protection of Cornwall’s historic environment.  Also, winning greater powers for Cornwall goes hand in hand with the recognition of Cornwall as a national entity, which would benefit its distinct cultural traditions and the rights of its people. 

The London-based political parties have compromised Cornwall’s ability to be heard beyond the Tamar.  Cornwall must have the capability to create primary legislation without reference to Westminster, as well as democratic control over most areas of domestic politics and associated public expenditure; proper devolution – not tweaks to local government. 

The people of Cornwall need to construct a compelling public campaign to deliver a National Assembly that can deliver for Cornwall and our local communities.