Cornwall Council's Devolution Deal questionnaire accused of being biased

By Richard Whitehouse - Local Democracy Reporter

13th Dec 2022 | Local News

The Cornwall Devolution Deal which was signed at Spaceport Cornwall( Image: Richard Whitehouse/LDRS)
The Cornwall Devolution Deal which was signed at Spaceport Cornwall( Image: Richard Whitehouse/LDRS)

Cornwall Council has launched a public consultation on its devolution deal and plans to introduce an elected mayor. However, the questionnaire has come under fire from critics who say it is "biased".

Linda Taylor, leader of Cornwall Council, signed a document that the council was minded to accept the Deal for Cornwall which could bring £ 360 million over the next 30 years as well as devolve some powers and responsibilities to Cornwall.

However, in order to get the deal Cornwall Council would have to change its governance which would mean having a directly elected mayor. Critics have said that the deal being offered is insufficient and have raised concerns about giving one person in Cornwall so much power over decisions for the Duchy.

The council has now launched a public consultation which will give people a chance to find out more about what is contained in the Deal for Cornwall and give their feedback through a questionnaire. An online question and answer session is also set to take place tomorrow (Dec13) to give people a chance to get more information.

Cllr Taylor has hailed the "historic" deal and said that it would help Cornwall. She has encouraged people to take part in the consultation. She said: "As well as the guaranteed millions of pounds of extra investment over three decades, this proposed deal gives us the powers to tackle the unique challenges we face in Cornwall on housing, transport, skills, and our economy, to benefit our residents now and for generations to come. I urge one and all to carefully consider this huge opportunity for Cornwall to receive more funding, powers and influence. Have your say now on this historic deal that will help shape Cornwall's future."

However, the consultation document has come under fire from Liberal Democrat councillors who say it is "biased". The group's acting leader Colin Martin said: "This one-sided consultation lists all of the package 'highlights' with the option to tick how strongly you agree with the offer whilst glossing over the amount of democratic sacrifice needed in order to gain this money. Of course, everyone wants to see more money come into Cornwall.

"Back in 2009, we were told that the changing to a unitary authority would give us one strong leader to speak on behalf of one and all. Now apparently the Government says we need a Mayor because we don't have a strong enough leader!

"Devolution should be by local consent and the form it takes should be decided by local people, not ministers in Whitehall. Mayors should only be created where local people want them and approved by a public vote, but the consultation doesn't even mention the possibility of a referendum. Cornwall shouldn't be denied a fair deal because the Conservatives don't respect local democracy."

A video issued online by the council about the deal and consultation does include information about a possible referendum, explaining that the council will make a decision next year on whether there should be a public vote on whether Cornwall should have an elected mayor.

Cornwall Council will make a final decision on the deal and a mayor for Cornwall next summer. If agreed then elections for the first mayor will take place in 2024.

The consultation about the devolution deal started last week and will continue for 10 weeks, closing on February 17. To take part go to

An online question and answer session will take place today (Dec 13) on Facebook at 6.30 pm. To take part go to Devolution deal Q&A LIVE – A Big Deal for Cornwall


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