Setting New Frontiers for Cornwall & the Isles of Scilly
Adam Paynter, Chair of Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Leadership Group and Leader of Cornwall Council, 12 June, 2018

Since the referendum to leave the European Union (EU), various universities, think tanks and thought leaders have published studies and views on the potential impact of Brexit on the UK economy.

The conclusions of each vary and economists will tell you, forecasting is notoriously tricky. However, there are some common themes.

The more barriers to trade between the UK and the EU that are put up, the more damage there is likely to be to the UK’s economic growth. While the exact figures differ, this is a consistent theme.

In Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly we believe that another barrier to trade is that regions like ours don’t have the same access to Brexit discussions as the devolved administrations of Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales. But we have the answer – to build and grow our region’s strength in global industries through New Frontiers, our post-Brexit plan.

This plan, a unique mix of proposals for economic funding and policy aims to set us apart and put us ahead of the curve with a set of proposals for government investment into global industries including space technology, the creative industries, lithium mining and renewable energy.

Part of this investment proposal looks at capitalising on the region’s geography and coastline making Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly the world’s first net extractor of marine plastic. This means that apart from extracting plastic bottles, 600,000 tonnes of fishing net discarded in the ocean each year could be extracted and recycled. We also aim to simplify regulations for businesses in our more traditional sectors like farming and fishing and develop a migration system that works for the region.

This would run alongside more devolution in areas like house building so that we can unlock government funds to build more sites, along with raising funding locally, for instance by taking 2p per litre of fuel to re-invest in our roads.

As part of our ambition to become a world leader in renewable energy. Cornwall has become the first in the UK to explore the potential to power our economy from deep geothermal energy and if government supports our New Frontiers plan we’ll be able to grow our capability in this industry further.

When New Frontiers plan gains the full go-ahead from government, the most significant outcome for the UK, is the additional £2 billion that the region will be able to contribute to the national economy as well as the new pipeline of additional jobs that will come out of these high skill, high salary industries.

Our belief is that this time when the country is exploring new trading opportunities and considering how to replace regional funding subsidies, New Frontiers provides a strong blueprint and now is precisely the time to discuss our regional plans with Whitehall.

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