Green MEP Molly Scott Cato, the Green MEP for the South West, has poured cold water on the government’s announcement of new powers for Cornwall. While welcoming the fact that Cornwall Council will have a greater say over how it allocates its budget, and particularly European funding, Dr Scott Cato was scathing about the deal:
“Austerity and savage budget cuts means the government is granting local authorities powers to do what they have no money to do. A classic example is giving Cornwall Council powers for franchising and improving local bus services while imposing huge cuts that leave little option but to cut services. The failure to include planning and housing makes a mockery of the whole package. The government has also pushed this through before the council submitted its own plans which sought a much wider range of powers. That’s not genuine devolution, it’s centralised planning of local power rather than a genuine dialogue.”
Greens say there is a need for a People’s Constitutional Convention. Part of this Convention would involve greater spending powers for local authorities to tackle the housing crisis, generate renewable energy, deliver improved public services and promote local businesses. Greens say they would support referenda where there is clear public demand for regional government.