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Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership

Volume 586: debated on Tuesday 14 October 2014

5. What discussions he has had with the Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly local enterprise partnership on devolving powers and responsibilities from Whitehall.

I was in Cornwall last week to meet the members of the local enterprise partnership and to sign the growth deal with Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. The deal is worth £200 million to the economy of Cornwall and Scilly, and will fund a range of infrastructure projects. It will include upgrading the Night Riviera sleeper service—which provides one of the most delightful railway journeys it is possible to take in the country—and relocating the maintenance centre of that service from London to Penzance; improving road junctions throughout the county; and dealing with some of the congestion around the A38 at Saltash.

I am very pleased that the Minister was able to bathe not only in the sunlight of my constituency but in the achievements of the Liberal Democrat and Independent-led local authority, as well as the campaigns on which I have been working, and the signing of the growth deal. To make certain that the deal succeeds, will he ensure that the Deputy Prime Minister’s excellent policies for delivering devolution are implemented not just in urban areas, as the Government propose, but in rural areas such as Cornwall, so that growth deals and European programmes can also be delivered?

I must tell my hon. Friend that not just one part of the coalition was responsible for those achievements. I negotiated rigorously with the leaders of all the parties in Cornwall, and we secured a very good deal, which will enable more decisions and resources to be devolved to Cornwall for the benefit of the people who know and love the area best. That is a big achievement, which was widely welcomed in Cornwall.

Order. The hon. Member for Hexham (Guy Opperman) is a legendarily cheeky chappie. Hexham, in Northumberland, is a very considerable distance from Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, on which this question is exclusively focused. I say that by way of explanation.