Cornwall

Cornish business group bid 'should just be for county'

Money in till
Image caption Cornwall Council believes the best way forward is alone

Cornwall should not join Devon in developing a local successor to the South West Regional Development Agency (RDA), a county official has told MPs.

Cornwall has applied for a county and Isles of Scilly Local Economic Partnership to take over RDA work.

Cornwall Council chief executive Kevin Lavery told a House of Commons committee that Devon and Cornwall needed to work together on some issues.

But he added the best way forward economically for the county was alone.

'Strong support'

Cornwall Council put its bid in for its Local Economic Partnership (LEP) last month.

The LEP would involve councils, businesses, colleges and communities, working together to boost the economy, employment and the standard of living of residents, the council said.

However, earlier this week, the Plymouth Chamber of Commerce said it was calling for a South West LEP, with Cornwall on board.

Speaking to Parliament's Business, Innovation and Skills Committee, Mr Lavery said his unitary authority did work regularly with its neighbouring county, but that in some areas it needed to be independent.

He said: "We do need to work with Devon, on transport in particular; on tourism.

"As a council we meet six-weekly with our counterparts from the three principal authorities in the Devon area [Devon County Council, Plymouth City Council and Torbay Council].

"But we think, on balance, it [an LEP] is going to work better at a Cornwall level, and we know that's going to be strongly supported by the local community."

The coalition government is scrapping the South West RDA - which covers an area stretching from Swindon in Wiltshire to Penzance - because it "didn't work", Prime Minister David Cameron told people in Cornwall in July.

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