Success for New Frontiers plan as seven 'asks' to Government are achieved

  Posted: 08.01.20 at 12:26 by The Editor

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Cornwall Council is calling on the new government to devolve more powers to the region as part of a plan to support a local economy that works for all residents after Brexit.In order to prepare Cornwall for the opportunities and challenges of leaving the EU, the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly (IoS) Leadership Board created a post-Brexit plan for the region.Called New Frontiers, the plan builds on the successes already being delivered for residents through the Cornwall devolution deal, including more integrated public transport and improved business support.The New Frontiers plan set out a series of ‘asks’ for Government, such as greater devolution powers, and changes to the region’s economy that could bring in an additional £2bn and create 20,000 new jobs for Cornwall’s residents by 2030.A year-and-a-half since the launch of New Frontiers – and despite a heavily distracted Government and delays in its commitment to bring forward a devolution framework - Cornwall Council has successfully achieved seven ‘asks’ directed at Whitehall to ensure that Cornwall thrives post-Brexit.These include:Funding for Cornwall’s SpaceportThe Council has secured a £7.85m investment from the UK Space Agency to develop facilities for the spaceport and secure a commercial launch partner - Virgin.A rural Energy Innovation Zone (EIZ) to pilot a new regulatory approach to heating, transport and power The Council is a step closer to creating an Energy Innovation Zone after the tender was awarded to the Carbon Trust, who will establish the pioneering EIZ in Cornwall.The main focus will be to integrate proven low-carbon technologies across energy systems; develop the business models and market arrangements needed to support new approaches to clean energy; and overcome the regulatory and other barriers necessary for them to flourish.The benefits include reduced emissions, bills and fuel poverty, and increased investment, exports and jobs.The 100 per cent business rate retention pilot has been extended to March 2020Cornwall Council was successful in negotiating with Government to be one of only five regions in the UK to keep all of the business rates it raises.Its powers to pilot 100 per cent business rates retention means that around £6m of extra funding now stays In Cornwall each year.With the announcement of the Spending Review, the Council’s second request was granted to have the 100% business rate retention extended to 2021Previously, 50 per cent of Cornwall’s business rates would have been sent to Whitehall. Now we can use this money to help us grow the local economy and manage funding pressures to focus on Council priorities and key services.Securing funding to support the work of the Skills Advisory Panel in developing local skills opportunities in priority sectors Around £75,000 of Government funding has been secured to help match skills to jobs with new support for Skills Advisory Panels.The bid for the South West Institute of Technology was successfulThe South West Institute of Technology (SWIoT) will look to train thousands of students in technical subjects across the region, bringing skills development and career opportunities.The SWIoT is a unique collaboration between a number of partner organisations, including Cornwall Council, Truro and Penwith College, the University of Exeter, University of Plymouth, Bridgwater and Taunton College, City College Plymouth, Exeter College, and Petroc.The request for the tri-light officer pilot was successfulCornwall Council, in partnership with Devon and Cornwall Police, the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner, South West Ambulance Service Foundation Trust, and Cornwall Fire & Rescue Service, has increased the number of tri-service safety officers since its inception.The tri-service safety officers are trained to deliver and integrate aspects of the three emergency bluelight services, and Cornwall Council's anti-social behaviour reduction work.A total of 10 tri-service safety officers have now been recruited, trained and are serving in predominantly rural communities across Cornwall.This follows in the footsteps of the country’s first tri-service safety officer Andy Hitchens, who piloted and shaped the role in his first 18 months from December 2015.Cornwall Council leader Julian German said: “It is 20 months since Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly Leadership Board launched New Frontiers as our regional plan outlining everything we need to flourish beyond Brexit.“Since its development in early 2018, the programme has been successful in achieving seven ‘asks’ against the backdrop of a heavily distracted government and uncertainty over Brexit.“We’ve remained engaged with Government to stand up for Cornwall on post-Brexit policy, including articulating our requirements of Government’s replacement for European funds – the Shared Prosperity Fund – and to keep it to its promise that we will not be worse off as a result of Brexit.”Cornwall Council will continue to negotiate the New Frontiers plan with Government to support a local economy that works for everyone, grow skills and opportunities for people in Cornwall, and protect our unique heritage and environment.The local authority has taken the initiative to form Britain’s Leading Edge - a collaboration of upper tier rural local authorities from all over the country - to strengthen the voice of rural and coastal areas with no major cities. Story posted on 2 January 2020

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