The Leader and the Devolution team reported back to the Scrutiny Management Committee this month.
Labour councillors are not impressed by the devolution deal, which conveys little real power to Cornwall. In the area of transport, there are very good and ambitious plans coming forward for an integrated transport system for Cornwall but it will need a lot of cash to set up. The Council is confident in applying for £17million from the growth fund but if we don’t get it, there is no ‘Plan B’. Either the plans will not go forward or the taxpayer will have to stump up. Very worrying as the government announced last week that they are keeping half of the growth fund money back until the next election ( presumably so they can promise it all again at the last minute). If by any chance, Cornwall does not get the grant, I can’t see any way these plans could be delivered and that would be a huge shame.
Devolution agreements between Cornwall and the government are expected to be signed off soon, except for Health and Social Care. The NHS in Cornwall is in a lot of trouble financially and the government, having put our NHS in the hands of the Kernow Commissioning Group, now has no confidence that they can run it. The plan was to integrate health and social care and many councils are now being encouraged to do that but it is hard to see how that can progress in the current crisis.
Not announced in the meeting but there is a rumour that government is pushing for Cornwall to have a Mayor if we want any real power to be devolved, despite that being unpopular with pretty much everyone.
As ever, officers in Cornwall are doing their best to make this work while hampered by a government that preaches localism but is more concerned with their own agenda and the next election, offloading problems and saving money for their next tax cut for the well off. In the meantime, councils are expected to deliver miracles with diminishing resources.