The bleak reality of Brexit is slowly becoming more prominent within Cornwall, as the countdown hits its final weeks, issues surrounding the final deal are still up in the air with no definitive answer to solve what is happening come the 29thMarch.
The latest announcement from 10 Downing Street has further highlighted the little desire that the government has to ensure that the region thrives.
The Stronger Towns Fund, is the latest in Theresa May’s arsenal to try and get as many parliamentary members on board with her Brexit deal. The fund, amassing to £1.6 billion, aims to further subsidise struggling towns and communities across the United Kingdom, but Cornwall looks the most likely to suffer.
The county currently receives a total of £60m funding yearly through the European Union’s European Structural Funds, something, that despite initial assurance from the Leave campaign that funding would not be lost when leaving the EU, the inevitable has happened.
As part of the Stronger Towns Fund, the South West will receive a grand total of £33million, the second least in the UK after the East of England who will receive £25million.
The issue with this comes in the areas around the South West. There are by no doubts affluent areas around the South West, however, tying these into the same funding category as other areas around Cornwall is naive. With Cornwall actually noted as the second most deprived area in Northern Europe, according to statistics by Eurostat. Hence, the current funding from the European Union to help push infrastructure and business within the South West.
The news comes just two weeks after Cornwall Council’s all member meeting, that looked at education within the county, found that Cornwall currently ranks 91stoverall for funding of its education system including both primary and secondary education.
This statistic appears even more shocking in terms of special needs funding within the county, ranking as 145thin the United Kingdom out of a possible 150. A similar story follows for that of early years, in which it is funded at a minimum rate.
At the meeting, Councillor Julian Rand MBE had branded the funding for schools in the county as a disgrace; “We are ranked in the bottom 10% of deprivation and every bit of good work that we are doing is still falling short of what other people’s improvements in other parts of the country, we are so poorly funded and it is a disgrace. The one thing that we should all do here is invest in our young people the only way in which we are going to.”
Although, Cornwall Council are going to be unable to resolve this issue if they’re not being provided with the resources in the first place. It would seem that they are being shrugged off by the central government.
It would be simple to say that the council need to try harder and force the hand of those in power, but, having already launched their campaign, aptly named; Stand Up For Cornwall in an attempt to gain funding to help tackle the ever growing demand on public services.
However, in the light of the Stronger Towns Fund, it would suggest that this campaign to get the attention of those in power has failed, with Cornwall being told they are welcome to apply for part of the remaining £600m which will be made available, but, Cornwall will then have to compete with others in order to receive it.
It’s clear that Cornwall is being neglected by those at Westminster in terms of support, and despite campaigning from both MP’s and council members in the county to try and raise awareness for the problem, it is clear that these voices aren’t enough and perhaps it is a matter for public to raise, whether it be through the media, rallies or ballot boxes.