Benn's Brexit Roadshow Hits Truro This Week



Evidence hearings: Thursday 9 Feb, 12.30 – 14.30, Lys Kernow/ County Hall, Truro


The House of Commons cross-party Committee on Exiting the EU will be visiting Cornwall this Thursday to hear evidence about the economic challenges and opportunities of Brexit for the Duchy.

The hearings will form part of the Committee’s inquiry into the UK’s negotiating objectives for withdrawal from the EU. The event is part of a program of visits to different parts of the UK that the Committee is undertaking. The MPs want to gather a range of views about Brexit, what it means for different areas, and what our future relationship with the EU should look like.

The committee is chaired by Hillary Benn MP and has 21 cross-party members including Peter Lilley and Micheal Gove, though it’s unsure which committee members will make the journey to Cornwall.

They have already visited several places including Lincolnshire, Aberdeen and Stoke. They have also received evidence from Gibraltar who might look for a special deal to accommodate their circumstances.

Now the government’s white paper on Brexit is published the discussions may be more focused. The committee will concentrate on the economic aspects of Brexit on Cornwall, hearing mostly from Business community about the current ambition of Cornwall but hopefully they will also hear that we need to be seen as more than just a holiday park or a rich person’s plaything- that Cornwall can contribute to the success story, if there is to be one post Brexit. The “Catylyst for Change” document launched last week at the Cornwall Brexit Summit at Wadebridge will be used to show how ahead of the game we are. There is no time it seems (yet) to talk about culture and heritage and some of the other aspects of Cornwall’s relationship with the EU we currently enjoy.

The day at Lys Kernow consists of two sessions and the committee will hear from:

12.30-13.30 Hearing: Cornwall’s economy and future

  • Cllr John Pollard, Leader, Cornwall Council
  • Kate Kennally    Chief Executive, Cornwall Council; Chair, Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Futures Group
  • Mark Duddridge, Chair, Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership
  • Kim Conchie       Chief Executive, Cornwall Chamber of Commerce

13:30 – 14:30 Hearing: Agriculture, Environment and Rural Communities

  • David Rodda MBE,           Rural Delivery Manager, Cornwall Development Company
  • Patrick Aubrey-Fletcher, County Adviser for Cornwall, NFU
  • Dr Laurence Couldrick, Board Member, Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Nature Partnership
  • Nicola Lloyd,Head of Inward Investment, Invest in Cornwall


Hillary Benn


In the committee’s reported findings so far on a trip to Sunderland, a familiar sentiment was shared as one of the feedback points says “It was noted that the North East had received more in EU funding than it had ever received from Westminster. Those present questioned whether there would be sufficient funding for the poorest communities, like the North-East, once the UK left the EU”

When visiting Aberdeen they found

“On the other hand, leaving the EU presented many opportunities for the fishing industry, which the Committee had heard in oral evidence that morning. There were worries within the industry that those opportunities would not be realised were the fish stocks in the UK’s waters to be used as a bargaining chip in the negotiations.

It was noted that the agricultural sector had been driven by EU subsidies for the last 40 years. For example, 75 per cent of net farm income in Scotland comes in the form of support, especially for livestock. It was suggested that subsidies can stifle innovation as well as bringing down the price of food in the shops. In addition to subsidies, Europe was also a major market for agricultural exports, with 96 per cent of Scottish sheep exports going to Europe. It was believed that the high leave vote amongst farmers was due to a dislike of EU regulation”