Thank you to everyone who has asked questions about MK's ideas on a Cornish Assembly. It has helped me to begin to draw together a short chapter of FAQs.
Many of the questions will be answered within the main body of our White Paper.
Some of the more frequently asked questions are reproduced and answered below - our full consultation document will be published on St Piran's Day.
Law-Making Cornish Assembly – Frequently Asked Questions
Isn’t Cornwall just too small for its own Assembly?
Definitely not – there are countless examples of smaller states and regions, both in terms of population and territory, that are either independent or have autonomous government.
We already have a unitary authority in Cornwall Council. Wouldn’t a Cornish Assembly simply be another layer of expensive politicians?
A law-making Cornish Assembly would be a national government rather than another layer of local government. An Assembly would be responsible for making strategic decisions on Cornwall’s future, and it would do away with the need for so many unelected quangos – mostly based outside of Cornwall – and bring greater decision-making back into Cornwall.
We already have MPs, so why do we need a Cornish Assembly? And what would be the point of MPs after a Cornish Assembly came into being?
Members of Parliament will still be there to represent Cornwall at Westminster on a wide range of issues that a Cornish Assembly would not be responsible for – for example, foreign policy and defence. Cornish MPs would continue to be a Cornish voice at Westminster and represent the Cornish interest when it came to UK wide issues and policies.
Wouldn’t a Cornish Assembly cost us all a lot more? Wouldn’t it simply be too expensive to be a realistic proposition?
Mebyon Kernow is confident that a Cornish Assembly could save money for UK taxpayers, including those in Cornwall. An Assembly would be better placed to manage the expenditure of the majority of the public sector in Cornwall and develop the Cornish economy. On top of this, it would be possible to do away with the wasteful individual administration costs of many quangos.
Wouldn’t it be better for Cornwall to be part of a greater South West region or to join forces with Devon? Wouldn’t the larger economic unit bring greater benefits?Mebyon Kernow believes that, time after time, when Cornish services and initiatives have been shared with a larger area, Cornwall always loses out to centralised power in Exeter or Bristol. We lose our democratic voice as votes are invariably based on population size and funding, originally destined for Cornwall, goes to tackle problems somewhere else. Additionally, Cornwall is a logical unit of government. It has myriad cultural differences to English counties and regions and a natural cohesiveness.
What difference would a law-making Cornish Assembly make? What could it do that an enhanced Cornwall Council could not?The list of powers that we believe that a Cornish Assembly should have can be found in section xx. These powers would mean that a Cornish Assembly would either have greater control of or (in many cases) have overall control of important government functions and funding which are currently managed through central government.
- Development and planning – setting housing numbers, encouraging economic regeneration and protecting the environment;
- Economic development and jobs creation (including sustainable tourism);
- Research and innovation projects – such as the Wavehub;
- The vast majority of statutory bodies such as English Heritage, Natural England, Local Enterprise Partnership etc.;
- European funding; and
- Creating a Cornish curriculum through education policy.
These are just a few specific areas that we have been asked about. A Cornish Assembly could be responsible for policy in these areas and many others.