Cornwall wanted guarantees it wouldn't lose £60m EU funding after Brexit, but the Government turned it down

'The current process forces Cornwall to compete for investment with more affluent places such as London, Birmingham, Bristol and the South East'

Jon Sharman
Tuesday 28 February 2017 16:25 GMT
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Cornwall and the Scilly Isles' award of £18m was part of £191m handed out across the south-west
Cornwall and the Scilly Isles' award of £18m was part of £191m handed out across the south-west (Shutterstock)

The Government heard Cornwall's plea for tens of millions of pounds to replace EU economic investment after Brexit—and turned it down.

Last year the county sought "urgent confirmation" that the £60m funding it received annually from Europe would not be lost when the UK departs the EU, as the council said it had been assured by Leave campaigners.

The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) has awarded the region £18m in its latest round of "growth deal" investment. Julian German, Cornwall Council's member for economy, said it fell "far short" of what was needed despite an "ambitious bid for funding".

The area's local enterprise partnership (LEP), a joint venture between the council and industry, "will be forced to reduce the investment it was hoping to make in Cornish businesses," Mr German added.

European money has helped develop infrastructure, universities and broadband internet in the county. From 2007 to 2013, it received €654m for the projects.

Cornwall, which has a population of just 530,000 people, voted resoundingly to leave the EU, with an above-average 56.52 per cent opting for Leave compared to 43.48 per cent voting for Remain.

"Whatever your views on the referendum, we are about to go off a cliff," Labour councillor Tim Dwelly told i.

Mr German added: "The current process forces Cornwall to compete for investment with more affluent places such as London, Birmingham, Bristol and the South East. It takes no account of our low earnings, poverty and rurality."

A DCLG spokesman said: "This Government has backed Cornwall with major powers and resources in the first devolution deal for a county.

"Each bid for growth funding was individually assessed against a range of criteria, including the LEPs’ strategy for local growth, the strength of private sector partnerships and investment, and also past delivery record.

"There was a great amount of interest and as a result the fund was more than three times over-subscribed, with £5.9bn-worth of bids submitted."

Cornwall and the Scilly Isles' award of £18.03m was part of £191m handed out across the south-west. Dorset received £19.46m and Gloucestershire £29.13m.

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