Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership (HotSW LEP), which covers Devon and Somerset, will receive £35.4 million. Karl Tucker, the LEP’s chairman, said: “With this amount, we will be able to fund a number of shovel ready projects to be delivered by January 2022.
Question Owl keeps asking is how much of this £35.4 million stays in the two counties rather than get shovelled out to National or International companies and out of area contractors and itinerant labour?
Devon and Cornwall to get millions to kickstart pandemic recovery
DEVON and Cornwall and Somerset will receive £49.4 million from a £900 million government fund intended to kickstart recovery after the pandemic.
The money is for “shovel ready projects”, but is less than a third of what the region’s local enterprise partnerships had bid for.
Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership (HotSW LEP), which covers Devon and Somerset, will receive £35.4 million.
Karl Tucker, the LEP’s chairman, said: “I am pleased that, as one of the biggest LEP areas, our allocation is the highest in the South West and the seventh highest in the country, which we assume means there is some recognition of the economic impact on us of Covid-19.”
The LEP had put forward 63 projects, worth a total of £121 million.
Mr Tucker said: “This is a welcome initial funding by the Government towards our Route Map to Recovery which will enable the area to restart, revitalise and grow.
“With this amount, we will be able to fund a number of shovel ready projects to be delivered by January 2022.
“However, this allocation is only 30% of the funding that we bid for, and therefore many of the other identified important shovel ready projects in our area currently remain unfunded. We look forward to working with Government on future funding for investments in our recovery pipeline.”
Cornwall’s share of the cash is £14.3 million. Glenn Caplin, chief executive of the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly LEP, welcomed the investment, but said: “It doesn’t match the scale of our ambition.”
At the Government’s invitation, the LEP had submitted proposals for “shovel-ready” projects worth £100 million. These projects had a particular focus on kick-starting a green recovery, Mr Caplin said.
Schemes such as a floating offshore wind farm, geothermal energy and the development of lithium mining for batteries would all require Government investment.
“The Government has already put a huge amount into managing the crisis, but if we are going to mitigate the economic impact of the pandemic and the lockdown, we are going to need more investment than has been made available so far,” Mr Caplin said.
In a speech in Dudley, West Midlands, on Tuesday, Boris Johnson announced a spending package which will include money for roads projects.
Devon and Cornwall county councils each receive £5 million for a road scheme, from a £100 million pot.
In north Cornwall the money will go towards “restoring resilience” on the extensive rural road network, which is suffering from years of underinvestment and, in parts reaching the end of its serviceable life.
Devon County Council gets money for a major maintenance scheme on the A380 Teign Viaduct.
In both cases, the councils will have to provide funding of their own.
With our spectacular scenery, beaches and attractions, this region is our nation’s chosen tourist destination. Tourism is worth around £3billion a year to the Westcountry’s economy and countless jobs depend on the stream of visitors we welcome every year.
But this year everything has changed. In March, we rightly told visitors to stay away. Our #ComeBackLater campaign – backed by business leaders, councils, MPs and police – asked people not to travel to the region as the coronavirus pandemic spiralled. Those pleas were answered, on the whole, as our region’s tourism and hospitality industry was forced to shut down.
Now, finally, we are ready to welcome people back to Devon and Cornwall with open arms, starting from July 4.
Some of our biggest attractions are fighting for their futures. Many of our pubs, restaurants and hotels are also in an uncertain battle for survival. But CornwallLive, DevonLive and PlymouthLive will be doing all we can to stand shoulder to shoulder with them and to encourage visitors back to our great region. Come and see us again – but be sensible, be safe and be kind.
Our message to the world is loud and clear: #WelcomeBack
The Government has also announced funding for Cornwall Council to start work later this year on a pioneering programme to make homes more energy efficient.
The council is one of three to secure funding from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy’s Energy Innovation Programme. Energy Minister Kwasi Kwarteng announced nearly £80 million of Government investment this week to help cut carbon emissions from homes and energy-intensive businesses.
Cornwall Council’s £4.2 million Whole House Retrofit Innovation pilot scheme is also receiving funding from the council and its energy partner SSE which will see improvements such as external wall insulation, solar panels and heat pumps fitted to 83 homes managed by Cornwall Housing.
Work is set to start on the first 16 homes in the autumn, using innovative solutions that aim to significantly reduce the properties’ emissions, heat loss and running costs for residents.
Cornwall Council leader Julian German said: “I am pleased that we now have the opportunity to move ahead with this pilot. It will provide important learning to develop larger-scale programmes and proposals for our own housing stock but also for other social landlords, the private rented sector and more widely across Cornwall.”
In his speech in Dudley, Mr Johnson announced set out plans to speed up £5 billion of the £640 billion of spending over five years announced in the Budget in March.
As well as the LEP cash and roads funding, 101 towns and cities will share a package of £96 million for town centres and high streets.
Five are in Devon and Cornwall: Camborne, Penzance, St Ives, Torquay and Truro.
Each will receive between £500,000 and £1 million to spend on projects such as improvements to parks, high streets and local transport.