A £360 million devolution deal has been announced by the government this morning which will see Cornwall local leaders given powers over skills and the adult education budget among other responsibilities.
The announcement, teased in the chancellor’s autumn statement, is set to be signed today between the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities and Cornwall Council.
The area will get an elected mayor, and among its powers will be control over the adult education budget (AEB) and where it is commissioned, as well as involvement in skills provision through avenues such as local skills improvement plans (LSIPs).
The AEB for Cornwall will be fully devolved by 2025.
According to the government, nearly half of England is to be covered by devolution deals as a result of today’s news.
Mark Duddridge, chair of the Cornwall and Isle of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “The devolution of the adult education budget from central government to Cornwall Council is welcomed as it will enable more tailored support to be provided to thousands of Cornwall’s residents every year to develop the skills they need for life and work.
“That will also allow employers to access a better skilled workforce they need for businesses to grow and thrive, particularly in Cornwall’s foundation and growth sectors.”
The deal being signed today at Cornwall Spaceport is subject to a local consultation beginning next week, as well as agreement from the council and parliamentary approval.
Other responsibilities in the deal will be around transport, housing, tourism and culture and heritage.
Levelling Up minister Dehenna Davison said the deal would “spread opportunity ad unleash this great area’s full economic potential,” while Cornwall Council leader Linda Taylor said the deal “provides clarity in uncertain times and would allow us to make future plans with confidence”.
The chancellor in his autumn statement announced a deal for Suffolk, although more details have yet to be unveiled for that, and said the government is in advanced negotiations with leaders in Norfolk.
Other county deal areas under negotiation are Devon, Plymouth and Torbay; Durham; Hull and East Yorkshire; and Leicestershire.
The government said that all parts of England that want a devolution deal will be able to negotiate one by 2030.