A few months ago, Michael Foster, our Labour candidate for Camborne and Redruth, said this about the latest round of EU funding for Cornwall:
“This could be Cornwall’s last chance to use EU money to get our economy off the ground and yet the Coalition are twiddling their thumbs at Westminster, trying to find ways to bypass local input. These endless delays could cost Cornwall millions of pounds and Whitehall mandarins can know little about the reality on the ground here.”
It looks as if, sadly, this is happening. Cornwall has failed to secure EU funding for the dualling of the A30 at Temple, because Tory and Lib Dem MPs have ‘twiddled their thumbs’ instead of getting on with it. Though it did not stop the press releases claiming credit.
This is from the minutes of the Extraordinary Cabinet meeting of 4 December:
Delivery of the A30 Temple to Higher Carblake Improvement was given a major boost on 5 December 2012 when the Chancellor of the Exchequer confirmed a capped conditional funding offer from the DfT of £30m toward the £60m scheme cost at the time. This offer was on the basis of significant spend within the current Comprehensive Spending Review period which expires at the end of March 2015.
The Council had approved a £10m contribution in November 2013 as part of the Capital Programme in the Corporate Business Plan and Budget 2014-19. The Council had also intended seeking the remaining £20m from the forthcoming EU ERDF 2014-2020 Programme; however, the programme is significantly behind its original planned delivery date thus placing the scheme at risk. The Council has, therefore, been working with DCLG and DfT to identify other funding options to deliver the scheme on schedule.
…and …(note the use of the word ‘was’ in this bit)
Subject to funding being confirmed and the granting of the development consent by the Secretary of State for Transport, it was anticipated that work would commence in March 2015 and take 19 months to complete, with two lanes open in each direction for summer 2016.
Michael Foster also pointed out when the Tories and Lib Dems were all over the news recently announcing all the road plans, that they had to get their funding act together if any of these schemes were going to happen.
The A30 dualling scheme at Temple was dependent on a combination of Council, government and EU funding.
EU funding is delayed for months, affecting Cornwall’s future and that will probably mean we cannot take full advantage of the money available to us.
Money from Government was announced in 2012 and (again this year) but is only allocated until March 2015, so if the road has not been funded and started by then, we could lose the government funding.
Depending on what ‘other’ funding streams are identified to enable this road to go ahead (if any), this could cost the Cornish taxpayer more.
Michael Foster saw the problem right away and raised it. He is not the usual kind of politician, like our Cornwall coalition MPs, sending out press releases and twiddling thumbs while Cornwall’s opportunities are lost. No wonder so many people are supporting our campaign to help Michael win.