Last week local elections were held in much of the UK. Nationally, the country voted to confirm confidence in the government and the direction this country is going. The Conservatives took the seat of Hartlepool, which has had a Labour MP for over 47 years, and held important mayoralties in the West Midlands and Tees Valley, while preventing an SNP majority in Scotland and gaining control of councils across the country.
More locally in Cornwall, there was a change in administration with Cornwall returning a majority Conservative administration of 47 out of 87 seats, for the first time since Cornwall Council was established in 2009.
For nearly 8 years, Cornwall has been run by a Lib Dem/Independent administration who have consistently failed to exercise judgement and to make decisions even though they might sometimes involve difficult choices. The last 12 months have certainly been difficult for many people and the support offered by local government organisations has been vital to many individuals and businesses alike all over the county. Recognising that different areas had different challenges, one of the things the government did was give local councils a discretionary grant fund which they were free to distribute to local businesses in a way that suited their locality. Some councils in other parts of the country gave a larger number of awards in smaller grants to ensure that the money they had gone as far as possible and really targeted support to those who had fallen between other schemes and therefore needed it most.
In recent years, Cornwall has suffered by having a Lib Dem administration that called for more decision making power but lacked the courage to take decisions. They were too preoccupied with their latest press release, or their latest leaflet to actually think about their responsibilities as an elected administration.
However, we now have a majority administration with a positive and transformational agenda planned which will keep the interests of the Cornish people at its core. The ability to enact change without having to negotiate with other parties or rely on the votes of independents, means the new administration can really deliver the change at County Hall that local people want to see.
There is no doubt that the faith that the Cornish people have placed in the Conservatives is a huge responsibility. It is important that we all come together to tackle the many difficult challenges that Cornwall faces, but I have faith that this administration will work hard to represents the desires of local, Cornish people whether you voted for them or not. The new administration has the opportunity to build upon the governments national agenda of building back better, greener and stronger than before as we recover from the pandemic.