Eustice, when asked a straight question about funding for Cornwall, can’t give a straight answer

Well, if you can fathom out what’s really going on here, you’re doing better than us or Sharon who wrote to her MP George Eustice in the first place. See what you make of this.

The question:

Dear Mr Eustice,

I feel compelled to ask you why your party in government has broken its promise to replicate funding levels for Cornwall that would have been forthcoming from the EU.

The number of broken promises has been mounting up and the Conservatives have lost all credibility, letting down farmers, fishermen and environmentalists all of which are specifically within your remit as the responsible minister.

It breaks my heart, when so many families are going hungry, to see crops going unharvested and being ploughed back into the ground through lack of available agricultural workers.

What plans do you have to remedy the current situation?



The answer:

Dear Ms Foster, 

Thank you for your recent email regarding the UK Shared Prosperity Fund.  

Being a peninsula like Cornwall creates unique economic challenges. Our industries have to transport their goods further to market, which adds costs. Recruiting staff can be even more of a challenge for business. A lack of profitability means that average wages can be lower. When it comes to further transport infrastructure, the further west you go the fewer MPs there are left making the case for investment, and government departments like the Treasury often fail to understand the dynamics of local economies. For all of these reasons, the case for Cornwall and economic investment in Cornwall has to be made repeatedly and consistently. 

Back in 2019, the Government gave a clear commitment to replace the cumbersome and overly restrictive EU structural funds once Brexit was complete with our own UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF). This was intended to support industry in poorer parts of the country and to ensure that we see new industries and better-paid jobs in places like Cornwall, rather than just seeing prosperity collect around the Home Counties. I campaigned to leave the EU and I want us to decide our own regional policy and have the freedom to design our own grant schemes that really work for places like Cornwall. However, with the power to set our own policies of economic regeneration comes the responsibility to get it right. 

Last week, the Minister for Levelling-Up confirmed the promise made in 2019: the UK Shared Prosperity Fund will match the previous complex, rigid, and bureaucratic EU Structural Funds, pound-for-pound. This will begin with a £132 million share for Cornwall of the full £2.6bn package for 2022/23 and increase by 2024/25 once the final EU funds have been wound down, at which point the UKSPF will match the average of previous EU funding each year. It is also worth mentioning that the Government’s methodology note for UK Shared Prosperity Fund allocations, explains that the new Shared Prosperity Fund allocations to each Local Economic Partnership (LEP) in England are based on the 2014-20 EU structural funding allocations for each of the LEPs, uprated to account for inflation. 

This new funding will be tailored to fit Cornwall’s needs and bring additional powers and more investment that is needed to help regenerate our communities. Cornwall Council has recently announced their ambitious plan for sustainable growth and regeneration called Prosperous Cornwall 2050. This plan sets out the Council’s plan to tackle the housing shortages in Cornwall, as well as expand our transport infrastructure, and make Cornwall a prime environment to start and grow a business.  

In addition to the UKSPF, the recently published Levelling-Up White Paper set out a new vision for Cornwall within the United Kingdom by inviting us to be one of the nine counties invited to negotiate a new ‘county deal’. This will give local leaders more control over areas such as transport, skills, and infrastructure and is part of the largest devolution of power from Whitehall to local leaders in modern times. This is further boosted by the £23.7 million ‘Town-Deal’ package for Camborne, which is supporting projects such as the ‘Fibre Park’ tech hub and other projects regenerating areas in the town centre which will make a genuine difference and are a welcome boost for the town. 

Thank you again for taking the time to raise your concerns with me, I hope this clarifies any concerns.  

Kind Regards,  

Rt Hon George Eustice MP
Member of Parliament for Camborne and Redruth
House of Commons


What? What does this all actually mean?

Note the constant labelling of EU money as being complex, rigid and bureaucratic. The Cornish must be grateful for receiving rather less money if it arrives in a less bureaucratic way, apparently…though the convoluted, wordy answer gives no hint of the implied desired reduction in complexity and bureaucracy.

What it adds up to is that Brexit gave the government the freedom to give Cornwall less money…

His final “Hope this clarifies any concern” beggars belief.

Is he having a laugh?

If you CAN work out what all this actually means in £££ for Cornwall, please let us know!