Posted: 09.09.21 at 20:08 by Richard Whitehouse - LDR
Cornwall may only get a maximum of £3million of cash from the Government to directly replace the £100m it could have been eligible for if the UK had remained in the EU, it has been claimed.
Prior to Brexit Cornwall had qualified for funding from the European Union due to it being recognised as one of the poorest regions in Europe.
As a result Cornwall could have been receiving £100m a year to help provide economic stimulus and support projects which would provide everything from employment and skills to infrastructure.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has previously stated that Cornwall would not miss out on any funding that it would have received if the UK had remained in the EU.
However it has been revealed that the Shared Prosperity Fund (SPF) – which has been put forward as the mechanism to provide that replacement funding – will not fully start until 2022 and that the pilot scheme, the Community Renewal Fund (CRF), worth £220m for the whole of the country will only allow local authorities to bid for a maximum of £3m.
Cornwall Council is set to bid for the full £3m allowed, but there is not enough cash to fulfil that for every council so some councils may get less or nothing at all.
The council is set to ask for £700m from the SPF for the next 10 years from 2022 to replace the funding it would have received from the EU.
In addition Cornwall Council has decided not to apply for money from the Government’s Levelling Up Fund after Cornwall was placed in the second priority band for the scheme. The council is, however, supporting a bid from the Council of the Isles of Scilly.
While Cornwall has not bid for money in the first phase of the Levelling Up programme it is considering bidding for later phases of funding.
Conservative councillors and MPs have previously highlighted that Cornwall has had millions of pounds of funding from schemes such as the Town Deals scheme and other government programmes.
But critics say that this money has not been specifically to replace the EU funding and was also available to all other parts of the country.
Tim Dwelly, independent councillor at Cornwall Council, said that the Conservative led council should now be putting pressure on the Government and Prime Minister to deliver on its promises that Cornwall would not lose out on replacement EU funding.
He said: “We are in a year when we would have had £100m coming to Cornwall if we had stayed in the EU. There is a pilot for the Shared Prosperity Fund, which is called the Community Renewal Fund, and we have been told to bid for up to £3m – and we don’t even know if that will come.
“This council chose not to apply for any Levelling Up funding and have been banging on about how a combination of funds would replace the EU money – but that is not the replacement funding, that is money which is available to all parts of the UK.
“Cornwall was given EU funding because of its unique status – there has been no replacement funding provided by the Government.
“There is Levelling Up funding, no EU replacement funding and at most £3m. Boris Johnson lied to Cornwall when he said he would match the £100m that Cornwall was set to get and now we have Conservatives running Cornwall Council covering up for that lie.
“At best Cornwall will get £3m this year – anyone can work out that is not £100m. It isn’t just levelling down, it is vicious levelling down.
“Looking to the future it is almost certain there won’t be funds anywhere near what we used to get. I have asked Cornwall Council for the assumptions they are using for what we might get in their planning. When I have looked at the figures it appears that by the very end of the SPF, when the funding will be at its highest, we will be looking to get around two-thirds of what we might have had under the EU.
“When David Harris (Deputy Leader of Cornwall Council) says there is no money he is correct, my question is when are you going to demand that money?”
Cllr Dwelly, who was previously Cabinet member for economic development before May’s elections, said that opposition councillors at County Hall would continue to press for the Government to deliver the replacement funding.
He said: “It is clear that Boris Johnson wasn’t telling the truth. For those of us who represent the 64% of voters who did not vote for the Tories to run Cornwall we want those people to know that we care about those pledges and taking money away from Cornwall.
“We will do everything we can to take back control of Cornwall from people willing to put up and excuse such appalling mistreatment of us by the Government.”
Join our volunteering gardening group at Beacon Park, Falmouth, every fourth Thursday of the month throughout 2021. There is a choice of a morning...