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Sunday, 1 January 2012

Well over a year has passed since the Cornwall & Isles of Scilly LEP came into being. Rob Simmons has discussed what the LEP had achieved and contrasted it with the Black Country LEP.

If you look at the minutes of the LEP meetings it does seem that they manage to discuss the same things every month without seemingly moving on.

However, the LEP does appear to have had two successes - or have they?

First of all it was announced that Newquay Airport was to become an 'Enterprise Zone'.

Now if I were a military man I would, at this point, be quoting the well known axiom that 'failure should never be reinforced'. It seems that there aren't many military people involved in British business governance or this would never have been allowed.

Newquay airport has been failing ever since Cornwall Council took it over as a commercial enterprise. Since the embarrassment of the takeover, when it had to close because of poor Council preparation, it has been losing services and customers. It is now well away from the number of passengers required to make it profitable.

Throwing good money after bad is not a good way of spending my taxes so why is this happening with Newquay airport and why is the LEP involved in this shameful waste of money?

More recently, it has been announced that the LEP has successfully been granted £4 million from the Growing Places fund.

This fund backs up the Tory led presumption in favour of development at any cost. Though normal Tory dogma would advocate letting the market find its own level, it seems that their well heeled backers are concerned at the current inability to make an obscene enough profit from building houses. This GPF is specifically for creating the infrastructure that might otherwise be paid for by developers through S106 agreements. The rationale is that the monies provided to LEPs should be 'recycled'. The LEP uses the funding to create the infrastructure to allow development to take place and then recoups the outlay to use to kickstart the next project.

To me this just seems like a variation on the PFI as a means of moving money from tax payers to business. No doubt once the developer has built their houses, and banked their profit, they will mysteriously go bust and be unable to meet their S106 obligations.

The LEP has made a commitment to openness and transparency. Let's hope it's more honest than Alec Robertson's version. I shall be very interested to look at the LEP's Pre-Qualification Questionnaire and to see just how the LEP is going to play its part in the concreting over of Cornwall rather than concentrating on providing real jobs for the people of Cornwall.

1 comment:

  1. This is admirably to the point and depressingly accurate. It's an indication of the low calibre of the mainstream of public life in Cornwall that the LEP feels no need to make a serious attempt at covering up its own uselessness.


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