Local Government Finance (England)

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 5:21 pm on 10th February 2021.

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Photo of Sheryll Murray Sheryll Murray Conservative, South East Cornwall 5:21 pm, 10th February 2021

I thank the Government for the assistance that they have given to Cornwall to fund many aspects of life throughout what has been an incredibly difficult time. Much has been given through Cornwall Council, and I thank those who have redistributed Government funds to the people of Cornwall. I also thank the hard-working council staff at Cornwall Council who have done so much during this pandemic.

However, I have a few concerns. First, there is the curious case of Cornwall’s embassy in Brussels. I find it frankly bizarre that hard-working Cornish taxpayers, who are in many cases struggling because of the pandemic, are funding an office in the heart of the EU. I know that the Liberal Democrats, who form the administration with the Independents, did not agree with our leaving the EU, but I remind them that in 2016 Cornwall voted to leave, and last year this Government got Brexit done.

Secondly, I understand that the new IT systems are over budget and that a massive amount of money has been spent on licences that were not even needed.

Thirdly, I am concerned about the many millions being spent on consultants. I understand that the amount spent has increased massively in recent years, and worry that we are paying people to talk about issues rather than focusing on delivering.

When I was in local government in Cornwall, one of the first questions I always asked—as I do now, as an MP—was, “Can you give me a timeline for delivery?” I want to see a council that actually gets things done. The Cornish people are the ultimate arbiters of who can best target the resources for Cornwall, and they will have that opportunity in May.

I thank the Government for the resource that they have given to Cornwall during this incredibly difficult time. I also thank the Prime Minister for choosing Cornwall as the location for the G7 summit and look forward to the best economic benefit that it will bring to Cornwall.