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Cornwall Draws Up Brexit Blueprint

Cornwall Draws Up Brexit Blueprint

Published by the Pirate FM News Team at 8:45am 17th December 2016. (Updated at 9:04am 17th December 2016)

Cornwall is preparing for Brexit.

Officials from industries like fishing, farming and tourism are drawing up a blueprint for what the Duchy will need.

It lays out risks and opportunities when we leave the EU - everything from quotas and trade to VAT and migrant workers.

Pirate FM asked Council leader John Pollard about what happens when we lose the funding from Europe.

He said: "We were in a cycle of 500 million euros and that seems to be guaranteed now via the government. As long as we can get the projects through and get most of them committed before we actually leave the EU, then I think the bulk of that money will still acrue to Cornwall.

"I think that investment will happen because that investment was there to improve the economy, to improve wage levels and to make sure the residents of Cornwall were not the poorest residents and the poorest region in the UK".

Key Risks and Opportunities:

Tourism, Culture and Heritage
Opportunity: Building on international links and reputation, welcoming tourists from beyond Europe, capitalising on current exchange rates that make the UK a favourable holiday destination
Risk: Workforce uncertainties, as the hospitality sector relies on a lot of seasonal workers from EU countries

Fisheries
Opportunity: Ability for local fishermen to more directly influence the future of fishing post Brexit
Risk: Uncertainty over future fisheries and conservation regime post EU

Agriculture, Food and Environment
Opportunities: Ability to shape a new and more market-focused UK agriculture policy focused on farming, environment and landscape outcomes; better opportunities to market Cornwall produce
Risk: Concerns over negative effects caused by changes in the Common Agriculture Policy payment regime; workforce uncertainties

Innovation, Research and Higher Education
Opportunity: Opportunity to lobby for recruitment of students and academics from all over world
Risk: EU academic and research networks and funding within the EU

Following the vote to leave the EU in June Cornwall Council and the Council of the Isles of Scilly have been working to make sure that their ambitions for the future can be achieved, and to reinforce that Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly are open for business.

Over recent months, Cornwall Council has convened a group of leading figures from the business, voluntary and public sector, and organised eight round-table discussions ranging from tourism to fishing, employment to energy, and farming to higher education.

Each group has brought together an even wider range of interests from across Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly and each has started to tease out not only the risks for the future, but also begun to identify some of the positive opportunities when Article 50 is invoked.

These round table discussions were initiated by an informal 'futures' group that itself grew out of a Brexit Breakfast held in July, convened jointly by the Bishop of Truro and Council Leader John Pollard.

There's a second such summit planned for February 2017, so an even wider group can come together and look at the coordinated findings of this work, and seek consensus around a plan of action to make sure that Cornwall is well placed for the future.

The House of Commons Select Committee on Exiting the EU, chaired by former shadow foreign secretary Hilary Benn MP, has agreed to come to Cornwall in the New Year to look at this coordinated activity and discuss the situation with a range of local people.

Cornwall Council Leader John Pollard commented: "After the referendum result last summer, everyone I spoke to in Cornwall was determined that we should not only identify and work out how to minimise the risks for us, but also work hard at spotting all the positive opportunities, and begin shaping how we can make the most of them. Following discussions with the Local Government Association I am confident that we are doing more in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly to co-ordinate our approach to Brexit than virtually any other area of the UK".

Speaking as the initial findings of the work are published, Kim Conchie, Chief Executive of the Cornwall Chamber of Commerce, added: "Although nationally there is still a great deal of uncertainty this is a good time to share the progress we have been making. I am grateful to the many people from all parts of Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly who've been involved in the discussions so far, from university academics to top business leaders, from farmers to the voluntary sector, from restauranteurs to fishermen, and to the two Councils. As a community we are very strong when the whole community comes together with a single purpose of planning how to give Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly the best future possible".

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