An announcement that Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly will retain the power to decide how European funding is spent in the region has been welcomed by Cornwall Council, some businesses and the Cornwall and Isles LEP.
The u-turn comes after the Government announced it was considering a proposal to set up a new approach to managing the EU Programmes nationally, which would take away Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly’s (C&IoS) ability to make decisions over how the next round of European funding would be spent.
Eager to get their hands on the purse strings, claiming this would "jeopardise the creation of new jobs and growth and create additional challenges in delivering economic development", the council joined forces with the LEP , partners and stakeholders to lobby the Government to allow Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly to decide how the European funding allocated to the region should be spent over the next six years.
A letter signed by the leaders of all political groups on the Council was sent to Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg in June expressing concern over the creation of a middle-man between Cornwall and Europe.
The council says that over the past few weeks a number of leading businesses have added their voices to the campaign, including St Austell Brewery, the Cornwall Chamber of Commerce, Cornwall Manufacturers Group, Cornwall Marine Network Limited and CoaST.
Yesterday Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg announced that the Government had agreed to give Cornwall Council and the Council of the Isles of Scilly and the LEP new powers to make spending decisions for the next EU funding programme locally.
Welcoming the announcement Julian German, Cornwall Council’s cabinet member for economy and culture, who has spearheaded the campaign, said: “This is great news for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly and I would like to thank everyone who has supported our campaign”.
“We are committed to designing and delivering the best possible EU programme to create jobs and improve the economy of Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. The best way to do that is by empowering local businesses and communities to make investment decisions and shape their own future. This decision will deliver a more local approach which will lead to greater investment in the region and create more jobs. It’s a win-win for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly”.