Cornwall will receive only £18m in investment over the next three years, despite being one of the poorest parts of the UK.
This is despite reassurances from Cornwall MPs that they would ‘sort it out’ and get us more.
Julian German, the Council’s Portfolio Holder for Economy and Culture said; “Having encouraged Cornwall to put in an ambitious bid for funding, I am shocked that Government investment in Cornwall is so small. Numerous businesses across Cornwall spent time and money putting in compelling bids for investment in products, services and infrastructure, many of them will now be left disappointed.”
The funding settlement is significantly less than the previous Growth Deal allocation given to Cornwall and falls far short of the investment required if Government is going to ensure that Cornwall does not lose out when European funding for the economy ceases as a result of the UK leaving the EU. EU funding currently provides £60m per year to develop vital local projects such as superfast broadband and business support.
Cllr German continued “In future I would encourage Government investment to take account of need. 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.”
“As a result of this announcement the LEP will be forced to reduce the investment it was hoping to make in Cornish businesses.”
A statement from the COIS LEP said
“The LEP was encouraged to make an ambitious bid and we were proud of what we submitted, especially given the high level of private sector investment in our proposals. But having asked for £127 million, it is difficult not to be disappointed at our £18.03 million allocation.
The reality is that the £1.8 billion Local Growth Fund was three-times over-subscribed nationally, and what we have been awarded is, per capita, on a par with many other LEPs.
But we don’t think that’s good enough. Our argument remains that Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly have been on an economic journey for more than 20 years, and that journey is far from complete.
Huge regional imbalances persist in the UK economy, so we will continue to argue our case for more investment as we strive to close the gap with other regions in terms of wages, skills and infrastructure”