Subject to ratification of the deal by all partners and the statutory requirements referred to within this document, including the consent of Cornwall Council and parliamentary approval of the secondary legislation implementing the provisions of this deal.

Signatures

The Rt Hon Michael Gove MP

Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities

Dehenna Davison MP

Minister for Levelling Up

Cllr Linda Taylor

Leader, Cornwall Council

Introduction

1. Cornwall has a diverse and unique history, with its native name (Kernow) deriving from historic records as early as 400 AD. Through its ancient Neolithic monuments, its Celtic language and its rich mining heritage, Cornwall’s past continues to shape its present. Cornwall enjoys a beautiful natural environment with 422 miles of coastline and a vibrant culture and heritage of creativity and innovation. This history and the geography of Cornwall, surrounded on three sides by the sea, fuels a strong sense of place and fosters a proud distinctive identity.

2. The government has set itself a mission that, by 2030, every part of the country that wants a devolution deal will have a devolution deal, with powers at or approaching the highest level of devolution, with a simplified, long-term funding settlement. The Levelling Up White Paper makes clear the case for devolution as the engine room of improved productivity and reduced regional disparities. Devolution will be critical to delivering the government’s twelve headline Levelling up missions, strengthening local leadership to act more flexibly and innovatively to respond to local need, whether on transport, skills or regeneration.

3. In the Levelling Up White Paper, government published for the first time a devolution framework, which set out a clear menu of options for places that wish to unlock the benefits of devolution. This framework places a strong emphasis on the importance of high profile, directly elected local leadership, strong local governance, and joint working across sensible and coherent economic geographies. The most comprehensive package is a Level 3 deal, for areas with a single institution over a sensible geography, with the strongest and most accountable leadership, such as a mayoral combined authority (MCA), or a single unitary authority or a county council covering a functional economic area or the whole county geography with a directly elected mayor. The Level 2 offer is for devolution to single local government institutions without a directly elected mayor, such as combined authorities, or a single upper tier local authority covering a functional economic area or the whole county geography with the leader and cabinet governance model. The Level 1 offer is for devolution to local authorities with looser joint working arrangements, such as a joint committee model.

4. This document sets out the terms of a proposed agreement for a Level 3 devolution deal between the government and Cornwall Council. This document describes both the offer of powers, functions and investments from government and the reforms and measures that Cornwall Council will need to deliver. Central to this is the election of a directly elected mayor for Cornwall Council to champion its interests, deliver on local priorities and be accountable to local people. The content of this deal is therefore written on the basis that Cornwall Council will resolve to move to a directly elected mayor and cabinet executive governance model; without this resolution, the deal will fall. This agreement is subject to the consideration of the outcome of the public consultation on the deal, the proposed change to the executive governance model being made, and ratification of the deal by the council; and to the statutory requirements for making the secondary legislation implementing the provisions of the deal. These statutory requirements include Cornwall Council consenting to the legislation and Parliamentary approval. Once this legislation is approved, the devolution deal will be confirmed.

5. Formed in 2009, Cornwall Council is the third largest unitary local authority in the country by measure of the population served, with 570,300 residents. It is the second largest unitary by area, but the ninth least densely populated, of all 59 unitary authorities. With most other public sector organisations and strategic partnerships serving the same geographical boundary and functional economic area, Cornwall offers enormous potential to take a new approach to ‘total place’ to deliver the Cornwall Plan 2050 and levelling up missions with the support of the government.

6. In 2002, the UK government recognised the Cornish language under Part II of the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. Additionally, in 2014, the government agreed to include the Cornish within the European Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities. The broad aims of the Framework Convention are to ensure that the UK government, as a signatory, respects the rights of people belonging to national minorities, undertaking to combat discrimination; promote equality; preserve and develop the culture and identity of national minorities; guarantee certain freedoms in relation to access to the media, minority languages and education; and encourage the participation of people belonging to national minorities in public life. This proposed deal reinforces the government’s commitments under the obligations of the aforementioned Council of Europe treaties.

7. Cornwall’s population has grown faster than the UK average in the last decade, increasing 7.1% overall (compared to 6.3% across England), with marked increases in the number of 70–74-year-olds (52%) and 75-79-year-olds (37%). This is leading to acute demand pressures across public services in Cornwall, particularly in the provision of social care and affordable housing.

8. The challenges and opportunities faced by the council are significant in equal measure; therefore, this second – and more significant – devolution deal to the one agreed in 2015 will support the council’s mission to create a carbon neutral Cornwall, where everyone can start well, live well and age well. This deal will make a significant contribution to the social and economic development of the UK by accelerating the transition to a carbon neutral economy by harnessing Cornwall’s unique opportunities in floating offshore wind, technology metals (e.g. lithium) and access to space.

9. Cornwall also faces a range of challenges which impact on productivity levels and the ability to grow. These include cross-cutting low productivity; low levels of higher qualifications; significant pockets of deprivation; lack of grid capacity; and a business sector with low research and development investment levels.

10. However, there are a number of significant and emerging growth sectors that this deal and other government initiatives – including £132 million from the UK Shared Prosperity Fund, £99 million from the Towns and Future High Streets Fund and £14.3 million from the Getting Building Fund – seek to support:

  • Clean energy resources – capitalising on unrivalled natural resources.
  • Geo-resources – harnessing expertise and the critical minerals necessary for the low-carbon transition, in a sustainable way.
  • Data and space – exploiting the unique physical, digital and intellectual assets in the region, and using data to overcome local and global challenges.
  • Visitor economy – potential to be a global leader for low-carbon experiences for visitors and residents, maximising links to the environment, heritage and culture.
  • Agri-food – creating a productive and sustainable sector maximising market opportunities for land and marine management, and food processing/production.

11. Greater local powers and investment are needed to level up, to tackle the challenges facing Cornwall, and to harness its huge economic opportunity for the benefit of people in Cornwall and for the whole UK. Accordingly, Cornwall Council and government are minded to agree a historic devolution deal which will provide powers and funding to enable Cornwall to unleash its full economic potential and, in doing so, level up, raise living standards for its communities and make a full contribution to the UK economy. It will build upon the area’s history of collaboration and the 2015 devolution deal to maximise this investment.

12. The Cornwall devolution deal shows how levelling up can be done in practice – with clear alignment to the Cornwall Plan 2050 and the government’s 12 headline Levelling Up missions – and long-term devolved funding underpinning it.

13. The Cornwall devolution deal will unlock significant long-term funding and give the council greater freedom to decide how best to meet local needs and create new opportunities for the people who live and work there. Government recognises that devolution is a journey, not a one-off event. This agreement is the first step in a process of further devolution made possible by undertaking a public consultation with a view to making a resolution to adopt a directly elected mayor and cabinet governance model.

14. As institutions and governance models mature, they can gain greater responsibility, and Cornwall Council will be able to deepen their devolution arrangements over time, subject to government agreement. The government will continue to work with Cornwall Council on important areas of public service reform and infrastructure investment, to support inclusive economic growth in towns, cities and rural areas whilst tackling climate change, on Cornwall’s journey to carbon neutrality by 2030 and beyond to deliver the Cornwall Plan by 2050.

15. As a local authority with a Level 3 devolution deal, Cornwall Council will be a key partner of central government to drive regional growth and productivity, joining the existing areas with a Level 3 devolution deal in engagement with the Government from the date of this deal.

Summary of the devolution deal between the government and Cornwall Council

The government and Cornwall Council are minded to agree a devolution deal which will provide the area with new powers and funding to increase opportunities and living standards through inclusive growth and productivity improvements.

A devolution agreement is contingent upon Cornwall Council proceeding through the steps necessary to meet the governance criteria required for a Level 3 devolution deal.

This devolution agreement includes:

  • Cornwall Council moving to adopt a directly elected mayor and cabinet executive governance model. The elected mayor will be directly accountable to Cornwall’s electorate and will provide overall leadership of the Council.
  • The elected mayor will have the power to designate mayoral development areas and to create Mayoral Development Corporations.
  • Control of a £12 million per year allocation of investment funding over 30 years, 35% capital and 65% revenue, to be invested by Cornwall Council to drive growth and take forward its priorities over the longer term.
  • An additional £0.5 million to accelerate implementation of the Cornwall Transport Plan.
  • New powers to better shape local skills provision to meet the needs of the local economy, including devolution of the core Adult Education Budget, as well as input into the new Local Skills Improvement Plans.
  • £8.7 million of devolved capital funding to support the building of new homes on brownfield land, subject to sufficient eligible projects being identified.
  • Up to £10 million capital funding to support the delivery of locally determined priorities in Cornwall, including housing and heritage-led regeneration subject to a full business case.
  • Up to £10 million for a ‘Cornwall Innovation Programme’ which will invest in innovative businesses over three years, helping to rebalance the Cornish economy and create new high paid jobs.
  • £0.5 million of funding to support Cornish distinctiveness, including the protection and promotion of the Cornish language, subject to a business case.
  • Commitment to include Cornish in any list of regional and minority languages that appears in forthcoming legislation where appropriate, to enable greater awareness and use of the Cornish language. Government also commits to work with the Council to explore further ways to support the ongoing protection and promotion of Cornish in private and public life.
  • Cornwall Council will create a Cornwall Land Commission, which will oversee the efficient utilisation of the public sector estate, identifying opportunities to significantly increase the delivery of new affordable homes. Government will work with the Council in establishing the Commission to engage relevant partners.
  • Support for Cornwall Council’s ambition to create a Cornwall Floating Offshore Wind Commission to minimise the marine ecological impact and maximise job creation.
  • Agreement to work closely on any national changes taken forward on second homes.

More detail on these commitments is given in the main body of the document below.

Further Level 3 powers may be agreed over time and included in future legislation.

Governance

16. Cornwall Council has already taken bold steps in securing effective and accountable governance. Cornwall underwent a process of local government reorganisation in 2009, moving to a single unitary local authority with a leader and cabinet executive governance model.

17. The government, Cornwall Council, the Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership, and the Kernow Clinical Commissioning Group signed the first Cornwall devolution deal in 2015. The 2015 deal led to the creation of the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Leadership Board to provide effective place partnership working at a regional level and to oversee the successful delivery of the deal. The Board brings together a powerful alliance of leaders from the public and private sector to provide collective leadership to realise the full economic, social and environmental potential of Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.

18. The government and Cornwall Council recognise that many of the policy areas in this deal have the potential to benefit the Isles of Scilly. The Government and Cornwall Council will therefore continue to work with the Council of the Isles of Scilly and other local partners to determine how the Council of the Isles of Scilly will be involved in the implementation of this devolution deal. Cornwall Council and the Council of the Isles of Scilly entered into an inter-authority agreement in May 2017 which provides a framework for the undertaking of functions across the council’s administrative areas.

19. The government and Cornwall Council also recognise that certain proposals in this deal will have an impact beyond Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. In these areas, Cornwall Council will work with the relevant public bodies and other partners in other parts of Southwest England – including the Great South West alliance – to ensure effective implementation of these proposals and to promote opportunities for pan-regional collaboration where appropriate to drive productivity and support levelling up.

Governance arrangements

20. As set out in the Levelling Up White Paper, the government sees benefits from having a prominent and directly accountable leader of an area, and those authorities with the strongest decision-making structures will secure the greatest powers. For Cornwall Council to access Level 3 of the Levelling Up White Paper’s devolution framework, a directly elected mayor is required.

21. As part of this agreement, therefore, Cornwall Council will move to adopt a directly elected mayor and cabinet executive governance model, subject to a resolution being passed at full council no later than 26 March 2024. The inaugural mayoral election will be on 2 May 2024, with a term of five years. Subsequent terms will be four years and will align to local elections. The electorate will be local government electors in the area of Cornwall Council.

22. The directly elected mayor will work in the best interests of Cornwall Council and its residents together with other members of their cabinet. The cabinet will be made up of the elected mayor and between two and nine other members of the council, of which one will be appointed deputy mayor. The elected mayor will provide overall leadership of Cornwall Council and may appoint an assistant and/or political advisor. It is for Cornwall Council to determine, in accordance with legislative provisions, how its constitutional provisions apply to governance aspects relating to an elected mayor. This may include but is not limited to the following provisions:

  • The elected mayor will be accountable under the council’s Member Code of Conduct.
  • The allowance to be paid to the elected mayor will be determined in accordance with the Council’s Members Allowance Scheme.
  • The elected mayor will be permitted to vote on all matters.
  • The elected mayor will be included in political proportionality calculations.
  • It is not intended that the elected mayor will take on the civic responsibilities of the Chairman of the Council.
  • The elected mayor will choose to exercise an executive function themselves or to delegate an executive function to the cabinet; an individual member of the cabinet; a committee of the cabinet; an area committee; or an officer of the authority.

23. Functions contained in this deal and listed below, will be devolved to Cornwall Council by the government. Where functions are subject to conditions, these are set out alongside the function being devolved.

24. The government will devolve to Cornwall Council the following functions:

  • adult education and skills functions
  • housing and planning functions

25. There is an expectation that the directly elected mayor for Cornwall Council will autonomously exercise certain devolved functions with personal accountability to the electorate. These functions are:

  • power to designate a Mayoral Development Area and then set up a Mayoral Development Corporation

26. Voting arrangements in respect of devolved functions will be as set out in legislative provisions and/or the council’s constitution. This includes the procedure under the directly elected mayor and cabinet executive governance model, which requires any amendment to a budget, plan or strategy proposed by the directly elected mayor and cabinet (following the statutory objection process) to require a two-thirds vote of full council to pass the amendment.

27. Cornwall Council will be scrutinised and held to account for their devolution deal by the council’s appropriate Overview and Scrutiny Committee. The Chair and Vice-Chair of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee will be appointed by the Committee from amongst the members of the Committee. The Chair and Vice Chair shall not be a member of a political group of which the elected mayor is also a member. Cornwall Council is undertaking a review of all overview and scrutiny arrangements to ensure arrangements are appropriate in light of the additional functions and funding being devolved to Cornwall Council.

28. The government recognises that Cornwall Council has ambition to deepen devolution over time. The government and Cornwall Council will continue their dialogue on these matters with a view to achieving these ambitions. Further devolution may be predicated on the further strengthening of local governance and accountability.

29. The Levelling Up White Paper committed the government to produce a reformed accountability framework for all devolved institutions in England. The government, Cornwall Council and other areas with devolution deals will work together to determine how this can best work in practice, so that government can improve the consistency of data and reporting, streamlining its approach to focus on clear and transparent outcomes, and ensure the right mechanisms are in place to promote good practice, as well as address serious concerns. This is to ensure that local people have confidence that devolution is leading to improvements in their area. This framework will apply to Cornwall Council, as well as all existing areas that have agreed devolution deals and all future areas.

30. The proposals in this devolution deal are subject to:

  • The consideration by Cornwall Council of the outcome of the public consultation on the proposed deal and required change to the council’s executive governance model.
  • The ratification of the proposed deal by Cornwall Council.
  • The resolution of Cornwall Council to change its executive governance model to a directly elected mayor and cabinet model in compliance with section 9KC of the Local Government Act 2000.
  • The Secretary of State for the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities being satisfied that the required statutory requirements as set out in sections 16 and 17 of the Cities and Local Government Devolution Act 2016 (including amendments made by the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill) have been met.
  • The consent of the council and Parliamentary approval of the required secondary legislation.

31. If Cornwall Council does not resolve to adopt a directly elected mayor and cabinet executive governance model, this devolution deal agreement will not hold.

32. Cornwall Council must follow the applicable procedure as set out in the Local Government Act 2000 (including amendments made by the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill), if it proposes to change its governance model from that of directly elected mayor and cabinet at a future date. Such procedure requires the Council to notify the Secretary of State, who will consider whether to amend or revoke the secondary legislation which devolves the functions to Cornwall Council agreed under this deal.

Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) integration

33. The Levelling Up White Paper announced the government’s intention to support the integration of LEP functions and roles into local democratic institutions to ensure a strong business voice at the heart of local decision making. Further guidance on how integration should happen was published on 31 March 2022.

34. This deal confirms the integration of the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly LEP (CIoS LEP) functions into the Council’s internal governance arrangements. Cornwall Council has engaged with its local partners and with government in taking steps to establish alternative governance arrangements which reflects the fact that the functions of the CIoS LEP covers both the areas of Cornwall and Isles of Scilly. Cornwall Council will submit an integration plan to government which sets out its alternative governance arrangements.

35. Both Cornwall Council and the Council of the Isles of Scilly have already made the decision to establish the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Economic Prosperity Board, a joint committee of the local authorities. This will deliver the Shared Prosperity Fund in line with national guidance with the intent that this may expand to oversee other functions and programmes set out in this deal including the functions previously undertaken by the CIoS LEP. Further, the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Economic Prosperity Board has established the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Prosperity Advisory Panel which seeks to ensure that the strong, independent and diverse business voice is maintained and meaningfully engaged with in the Council’s decision making processes, maintaining a culture of constructive challenge and scrutiny.

36. Future funding for LEP functions and services will be subject to annual funding decisions and business planning by government. Government reserves the right to modify the functions and roles set out in section 10 of the guidance on LEP integration.

Finance and investment

37. Cornwall Council will create a fully devolved funding programme covering all budgets for devolved functions (“Cornwall Investment Fund”), with accountability resting solely with Cornwall Council.

38. Cornwall Council will use the Cornwall Investment Fund to deliver a programme of transformational long-term investment to deliver the Cornwall Plan 2050. The government agrees to allocate £12 million per annum for 30 years (35% capital and 65% revenue) which will form part of the Cornwall Investment Fund. This will be subject to five-yearly gateway assessments to confirm that the investment has contributed to economic growth and levelling up. Once the regulations are made conferring powers to Cornwall Council and the council has its Assurance Framework signed off, Cornwall Council may have access to the Investment Fund prior to the election of a directly elected mayor, subject to the agreement with the government of suitable caps.

39. The costs of Cornwall Council will be met from the overall resources of Cornwall Council. To support the council in its early stages of this deal, government will provide £250,000 in 2023/24 and £500,000 in 2024/25 of Mayoral Capacity Funding – once the directly elected mayor and cabinet executive governance model resolution is passed and the Assurance Framework confirmed with government. Any future capacity funding will be subject to Spending Review, in line with arrangements for other devolution deals. When taking on additional activities or funding allocations from government, the need for additional resources to support the new activity will be considered as for other areas with a Level 3 devolution deal.

40. The elected mayor will retain the power already in place for local authorities to introduce a supplement on business rates for expenditure on a project or projects that will promote economic development in the area, subject to a ballot of affected businesses.

41. The government understands that Cornwall Council currently has, and will in the future have, interest in applying for funding and other opportunities made available. This includes but is not limited to the Levelling Up Fund. This deal does not preclude participation in these processes where Cornwall Council meet the relevant criteria.

A creative carbon zero economy

Strategic sector priorities

42. Through the deeper devolution trailblazer deals announced in the Levelling Up White Paper, government will bring together a holistic package of powers, roles, functions and strategic relationships to grow the private sector at a local level. The trailblazers are designed as a blueprint for other mayoral combined authorities, and Government will draw lessons from this approach to make a similarly broad and holistic offer to Cornwall Council in due course. Priority areas for Cornwall include floating offshore wind, space and data, tech metals, the visitor economy and ‘F3’ (farming, fishing and food).

43. This offer will explore the following, and potentially other, options to:

  • Empower Cornwall to be able to secure greater private investment in local priorities.
  • Strengthen Cornwall’s local innovation capacity to help realise the potential of local innovation assets and the innovation potential of small and medium-sized enterprises.
  • Help to realise the global export potential of local businesses in Cornwall and maximise the local benefits of international trade.
  • See Cornwall play a greater role in supporting local businesses to improve their productivity.
  • Engage Cornwall in the delivery of digital infrastructure and potential economic and public service applications of data and data science.

Innovation / research and development

44. Cornwall Council will establish a ‘Cornwall Innovation Programme’ which will invest up to £10 million in the region’s most innovative businesses over 3 years. This will rebalance the Cornish economy and tackle low productivity to create new high paid jobs, increase research and development spend and bring new products to market.

45. Innovate UK commits to working towards ways which address the principles and practical arrangements for closer and long-term collaboration, meeting the LEP’s ambition to bring Cornish SMEs up to the national standard of the 70% Innovate UK application scoring threshold and therefore increase innovation adoption and diffusion across the region. This will be through commitment to explore co-creation and co-investment of innovation support services and products, including a focus on net zero and equality, diversity and inclusion programmes.

Cornwall Floating Offshore Wind (FLOW) Commission

46. In the British Energy Security Strategy, government announced its ambition to deliver up to 50GW of offshore wind by 2030, including up to 5GW of innovative floating wind. Government recognises Cornwall is well-placed to capitalise on the economic and clean energy opportunity presented by floating offshore wind given its proximity to the Celtic Sea.

47. The government supports Cornwall Council’s ambition to create a Cornwall FLOW Commission, to support the region to contribute to the delivery of the UK’s targets for renewable generation. This locally-led Commission will examine options to halve the time of the overall offshore development process, minimise FLOW’s cumulative marine ecological impact, and maximise the regional economic development and jobs creation.

48. Cornwall will benefit from the Floating Offshore Wind Demonstration Programme, which will see Cornish innovation help to commercialise new floating offshore wind technologies, generating economic opportunities for local people and businesses.

Energy infrastructure and Local Area Energy Plan delivery

49. Cornwall Council will work with energy stakeholders to maximise the region’s contribution to net zero and work towards its ambition to become the first net zero region in the UK. This will build on the commitments and partnerships set out in this devolution deal.

50. Government has already provided a package to Cornwall Council to support the development of local area energy planning and will work with the Council to ensure this support meets their needs.

51. Government recognises the need for major investment in the UK’s onshore and offshore electricity networks to ramp up the generation of renewable and low-carbon power. As announced in the British Energy Security Strategy, government is working to cut the length of time required to consent to renewables projects, which will bring clean energy to the shores of Cornwall and elsewhere quicker, subject to planning approvals.

52. As set out in the Electricity Networks Strategic Framework, government is committed to ensuring that devolved regional institutions, including Cornwall Council, have a meaningful role in planning our future energy system for net zero. In addition, Ofgem has decided to socialise more of the costs of network reinforcement from April 2023. This should reduce costs for connecting customers and support a more strategic approach to network planning.

53. The UK Infrastructure Bank (UKIB) will increase infrastructure investment across the UK by partnering with the private sector and local government to help tackle climate change and support regional and local economic growth. The bank’s advisory service, when launched, could offer advice and support to local actors, including Cornwall Council, to help deliver on their objectives, including driving investment into net zero infrastructure and innovative local projects. It can also act as a convenor, bringing together local actors for collaborative projects, and where appropriate identifying where projects can be aggregated to achieve greater impacts.

Heat Network Licence

54. Government has confirmed its intention to establish heat network zoning in England. Under the zoning proposals, Zoning Coordinators within local government will be able to designate areas as heat network zones where heat networks are going to be the most cost-effective way to decarbonise heating and hot water within the zone. Local authorities will have powers to require certain buildings to connect to heat networks within the zones. This will enable Cornwall Council to assume the role of heat network Zoning Coordinator for its locality and play a key role in the delivery of heat decarbonisation infrastructure. Government is committed to have heat network zoning in place by 2025.

55. Government will support Cornwall Council alongside other local authorities across England to take forward heat network zoning, to capitalise on unique local opportunities to utilise geothermal energy as a zero-carbon heat source across the locality.

56. In addition, government recognises the near-term opportunity to connect the Langarth development in Cornwall to a long-term, sustainable supply of geothermal heat, which has already been supported by the Green Heat Network Fund. In advance of the heat network licensing regulations coming into force, government will continue to explore ways to support and facilitate the project’s development, including further business case development, with a view to rapidly progressing it to commercial viability.

Sustainable food, land and sea

Natural capital

57. Government will support Cornwall Council to build the capacity it needs to leverage private finance into nature recovery, including representative and collaborative local governance, as part of a natural capital approach to environmental and economic growth. This will build on existing local investment readiness projects to help nurture emerging local environmental credit markets, such as for Biodiversity Net Gain units. It will complement local economic development investments to support socio-economic outcomes – including supporting local farm business resilience and catalysing green skills development and employment growth. Support provided by Government may include: a proportion of revenue funding; specialist expertise; co-ordination of peer support and networking; and/or local partnership working with Department for Environment, Farming and Rural Affairs’ Arm’s Length Bodies (Environment Agency, Natural England, Forestry Commission). Any funding provided will be subject to further agreement and approvals, and will be conditional on participation in a programme of evaluation and shared learning.

58. Cornwall Council has provisionally agreed to act as the responsible authority for the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Nature Recovery Strategy (LNRS) area. Formal appointment of responsible authorities will be made by the Department for Environment, Farming and Rural Affair’s Secretary of State following publication of relevant regulations and guidance and confirmation of funding. The Government welcomes Cornwall Council’s ambition to work closely with local communities and stakeholders in the preparation and delivery of the LNRS for the area, building on existing excellent work and partnerships that already exist. Government will ensure that over time locally identified environmental priorities are incorporated into new environmental land management schemes where appropriate.

Cornish Hedges

59. Government acknowledges Cornish Hedges as iconic and unique landscape features with significant environmental and heritage value, as well as the economic value of Cornish hedgers as a skilled green profession and is supportive of the use in Cornwall of the locally developed Hedge Importance Test. Government will consider the case for supporting the positive management of Cornish Hedges through the agricultural transition programme or farming reforms.

Thriving places with decent, affordable homes

Transport plans

60. The government acknowledges that Cornwall Council has approved a new and ambitious Cornwall Transport Plan 2030. In order to enable Cornwall Council to review this plan using the highest standards outlined in the quantifiable carbon reductions guidance (due to be published early 2023) Cornwall Council will be provided with an additional £500,000 of revenue funding across 2023/24 and 2024/25. The investment in local transport planning and the consolidated transport budget will provide Cornwall Council with the opportunity to design a high-quality pipeline of transport schemes aligned with their wider strategic priorities. The funding will also support the council to develop a detailed decarbonisation plan of action that sets out what Cornwall needs to do to meet the commitment to be carbon neutral in transport by 2030. It is envisaged that such a plan will focus on key infrastructure requirements needed such as the investment and delivery of high-quality active travel and bus routes, delivery of on-street EV charging points supported by comprehensive plans around targeted and societal wide ‘hearts and minds’ campaigns.

Consolidated local transport budget

61. Cornwall Council is currently responsible for an integrated local transport budget for Cornwall, consisting of pothole funding alongside retained business rates proportionate to what it would normally receive for highways maintenance block and integrated transport block. The integrated transport settlement will continue to be available to Cornwall Council following the first mayoral election in May 2024, for the final year (2024/25) of the current Spending Review period. The government acknowledges that Cornwall Council desires longer-term certainty that the integrated transport settlement will continue beyond 2025 and will therefore work with the council to agree an integrated multi-year transport settlement at the next Spending Review. At this point, opportunities for expanding the integrated transport settlement offer will also be explored.

Roads

62. The Government acknowledges the challenges Cornwall faces with transport connectivity as a large rural area. The government also recognises the aspirations of Cornwall Council to improve public electric vehicle charging infrastructure across the region, which would increase the uptake of electric vehicles and reduce carbon emissions by supporting all motorists in making the switch. Government is introducing a new £450 million local electric vehicle infrastructure (LEVI) scheme for local authorities to support LEVI delivery and will work with Cornwall Council to ensure the area is well placed to respond once funding arrangements are announced.

63. The government will consider the proposals to enhance the A38 in Cornwall as part of decisions on Roads Investment Strategy 3, taking into account its economic benefits balanced against wider factors.

Buses

64. Cornwall Council has implemented an Enhanced Partnership to deliver high quality bus services as part of an integrated local transport system. If Cornwall Council concludes that bus franchising is likely to deliver better outcomes, the government will consider conferring franchising powers under the Transport Act 2000 to Cornwall Council where it demonstrates they have the capability and intention to deliver their chosen franchise model, and that franchising will deliver better services than their enhanced partnership without needlessly delaying benefits to passengers. In any partnership or franchising arrangements, Cornwall Council should seek within available resources to facilitate the delivery of smart, simple integrated ticketing across all local modes of transport in the area. Cornwall Council will continue to work with relevant partners – Peninsula Transport, bus and rail operators, Great British Railways and the Department for Transport – to realise this ambition.

65. As per the commitment in the National Bus Strategy, the government is working on the reform of the Bus Service Operators Grant (BSOG). Following the reform of BSOG, should Cornwall Council request BSOG be devolved to them, the Department for Transport will work with the Council to devolve BSOG to them in line with the consultation outcome.

Rail

66. Government will support Cornwall Council in seeking a new rail partnership with Great British Railways, once established, so that their priorities can be taken into consideration in future decisions regarding their local network. Cornwall Council, alongside existing Level 3 authorities, will be considered a priority for these agreements which will provide the ability to influence the local rail offer. Local priorities will need to be coordinated and compatible with surrounding areas and the needs of the national network.

67. The government understands that Cornwall places strategic importance on Mid-Cornwall Rail as a key enabler to sustainable growth and economic regeneration. Cornwall Council will continue to explore opportunities to apply for additional funding and support to deliver this.

68. Government recognises Cornwall Council’s ambition to deliver multimodal transport ticketing in order to simplify the transport network and encourage more passengers to use public transport:

a. Government will explore how best to extend the existing Cornwall Rail Station Digitisation (CRSD) project across Cornwall.

b. Government will work with Cornwall Council to build on the ‘tap on, tap off’ ticketing system being delivered on buses to establish Cornwall as a pilot area for a multimodal account-based ticketing trial.

c. Government recognises the work underway in Cornwall to deliver the country’s first Bus Fares Pilot and will explore opportunities for the council to be engaged in how to encourage higher rail patronage on journeys that could be made multimodally, linked with bus and active travel.

Active travel

69. The Government recognises the challenges presented by Cornwall’s rural geography and will work with Cornwall Council and Active Travel England (ATE) on innovative local active travel schemes. Cornwall Council will continue to work with ATE on any future walking and cycling schemes to ensure schemes are delivered to high standards. This includes ensuring that cycling designs are compliant with Local Transport Note 1/20 (LTN 1/20).

Tamar Crossings

70. The Tamar crossings – the Tamar Bridge and Torpoint Ferry – provide strategic infrastructure connecting Cornwall with Plymouth. Cornwall Council and its partner Plymouth City Council will continue to work together for a sustainable future for the crossings. Together with government, they will consider options for future legislation to enable a more efficient toll revision process.

Housing

71. Cornwall Council’s elected mayor will have the power to designate mayoral development areas and to create Mayoral Development Corporations, which will support delivery on strategic sites in Cornwall.

72. Cornwall Council already has broad powers to acquire and dispose of land to build houses, commercial space and infrastructure, for growth and regeneration. To maximise the council’s ability to invest to deliver housing for the area, Cornwall Council will create a Cornwall Land Commission and government will work with the council in establishing the Commission to engage relevant partners, departments and stakeholders across government. The Cornwall Land Commission will oversee the efficient utilisation of the public sector estate identifying opportunities to help Cornwall Council meet its ambition to significantly increase the delivery of new affordable homes.

73. Cornwall Council and Homes England are committed, with the support of the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC), to working collaboratively – combining their skills and capacity – to unlock the barriers to affordable housing delivery, regeneration and wider housing growth through the development of a pipeline for the region, including small sites. Government will work together with Cornwall Council to establish the measures needed to achieve their longer-term ambition to double the delivery of affordable housing. This will be underpinned by a clear Action Plan setting out workstreams, timescales and milestones, as well as respective roles and responsibilities.

74. Homes England and government will explore the potential for investing in the delivery of this pipeline through current and future funding streams, including the Affordable Housing Programme.

75. Cornwall Council will be awarded £8.7 million of devolved capital funding across 2023/24 and 2024/25 to support the building of new homes on brownfield land, subject to sufficient eligible projects for funding being identified.

76. To support to Cornwall Council to identify and bring forward a pipeline of housing projects, the government will also provide £238,000 in capacity funding across 2023/2024 and 2024/2025.

77. The government will also provide up to £10 million capital funding in this Spending Review period to support the delivery of locally determined priorities in Cornwall, including housing and heritage-led regeneration subject to a full business case.

78. In light of the significant housing challenges in Cornwall, government will work with Cornwall Council to explore opportunities for increasing decency in the private rented sector in 2023, in a way that will encourage landlords to remain in the sector and invest in their properties to ensure minimum legislative standards of accommodation are met. Government will work with Cornwall Council to develop a proposal, with potential funding for, a pilot scheme trialling improved enforcement in the private rented sector, with a particular focus on resolving barriers to successful enforcement, and subject to agreement of a business case.

79. Government will work with Cornwall Council to explore testing the concept of a simpler approach to neighbourhood planning ahead of securing powers through the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill to introduce Neighbourhood Priorities Statements.

Housing retrofit

80. The government commits to explore the potential benefits of and design options for a place-based approach to delivering retrofit measures, as part of the government’s commitment in the Net Zero Strategy to explore how we could simplify and consolidate funds which target net zero initiatives at the local level where this provides the best approach to tackling climate change.

81. This work will involve inviting Cornwall Council to work with government through the relevant representative organisations to consider if such an approach could accelerate the meeting of net zero goals and provide better value for money.

82. Cornwall Council’s priority is to tackle fuel poverty whilst meeting net-zero targets, and particularly to help address the challenge of supplying affordable low carbon warmth to off-gas communities.

Second homes and short term lets

83. The government recognises that large numbers of second homes concentrated in a single area can have a negative effect on local communities and has introduced measures to help mitigate those effects, including introducing higher rates of Stamp Duty Land Tax for those purchasing additional properties, and powers in the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill which will enable councils to introduce a council tax premium on second homes of up to 100%. DLUHC will commit to work closely with Cornwall Council on any future changes taken forward in this space.

Tourism accommodation

84. Tourism and the visitor economy are crucial sectors for Cornwall, with the region attracting large numbers of leisure and business visitors every year, including through its cultural and heritage offer. To help support this crucial industry, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) will engage with Cornwall Council as it establishes the new accredited Local Visitor Economy Partnerships model (LVEP) for England. The LVEP model will help further develop Cornwall’s visitor economy, with a view to harnessing Cornwall’s potential to grow domestic and international visitor spend, and encouraging visits throughout the year rather than just during the traditional tourist season.

85. In Cornwall and other areas however, landlords are argued to be prioritising short-term letting activity instead of long-term tenancy agreements, thereby reducing the supply of rental accommodation. Following the conclusion of government’s call for evidence on short term lets and potential future consultation, government and Cornwall Council will work together to investigate what changes could help to support the supply of safe and sustainable short term holiday accommodation and wider destination management.

Relocation of public bodies

86. Government recognises the benefits of relocating roles to locations outside Greater London to support levelling up across the UK. As part of the Government’s Places for Growth programme, the government will continue to work on the potential for any future relocation of roles or new government bodies to Cornwall.

Town centre regeneration

87. The government has already allocated £99 million from the Towns and Future High Streets Fund to support Cornwall Council’s ambition to encourage economic regeneration and restore pride in place. The beneficiaries of this funding include St Ives, Penzance, Camborne and Truro.

88. The government understands that Cornwall Council places strategic importance on supporting local regeneration activity. The council works to drive sustainable growth in towns such as Helston by encouraging diverse local communities and visitors to dwell in the area, enhance health and wellbeing and inject vibrancy into the local economy and cultural life. Cornwall Council will continue to explore opportunities to apply for additional funding and support to deliver this.

Skills and education

Adult education

89. Whilst the numbers of people in Cornwall qualified to Levels 2 and 3 are above the England average, there are significant place-based variations in skills and productivity across Cornwall. For example, NVQ3 ranged from 12.5% in Camborne & Redruth to 23.9% in South East Cornwall. Over the next 10-15 years, slower growth in the working population and significant technology driven changes are likely to require increased adaptability and re-skilling by people who are already working as well as maximising the potential of young people entering the labour market.

90. The Government will fully devolve the Adult Education Budget (AEB) to Cornwall Council from academic year 2025/26 subject to readiness conditions and Parliamentary approval of the required secondary legislation conferring the appropriate functions. These arrangements do not cover apprenticeships or traineeships, even though the latter is funded through the AEB.

91. Prior to full devolution taking place, the government will work with Cornwall Council to support their preparations for taking on the relevant functions, including offering implementation funding on a ‘matched-funded’ basis and awarded through a business case process.

92. Upon devolution, Cornwall Council will be responsible for making allocations to providers and the outcomes to be achieved, including with statutory entitlements. The government will not seek to second guess these decisions, but it will set proportionate requirements about outcome information to be collected in order to allow students to make informed choices.

93. The government will consult with Cornwall Council on a funding formula for calculating the size of the grant to be paid to Cornwall Council for the purpose of exercising the devolved functions.

94. In order to proceed with devolution, the government needs to be assured of the following readiness conditions:

a. The Secretary of State for Education and appropriate accounting officer are assured that Cornwall Council is operationally ready to administer the adult education budget and is satisfied the required statutory tests have been met.

b. Parliament has legislated to enable transfer to Cornwall Council of the current statutory duties on the Secretary of State to secure appropriate facilities for further education for adults from this budget and for provision to be free in certain circumstances.

c. Agreement to a memorandum of understanding between the Department for Education and Cornwall Council that provides appropriate assurance that the named parties will work together to ensure the future financial stability of the provider base, including for sharing financial risk and managing provider failure.

d. Learner protection arrangements are agreed between parties.

Skills and employment

95. The Cornish workforce is more concentrated in middle ranking occupations than the England average. Despite unemployment being low, there are still communities and places where unemployment and working in low paid jobs remains high with a growing number identified as having significant barriers to work. Cornwall also has an older workforce than the average for England.

96. Local Skills Improvement Plans (LSIPs) will set out the current and future skills needs of the area and how local provision needs to change to help people develop the skills they need to get good jobs and increase their prospects. They will build a stronger and more dynamic partnership between employers and providers and allow provision to be more responsive to the skills needs of employers in local labour markets.

97. Working with the designated Employer Representative Body, sharing the local labour market intelligence and analysis developed[footnote 1], Cornwall Council will support and provide input into the LSIP for the area.

98. The government recognises the challenges facing Cornwall with a coastal and rural economy experiencing a complex range of issues relating to productivity, upskilling, in-work progression and connectivity. There is a need to develop and deliver targeted programmes to address the unique and diverse challenges across the region. Cornwall Council will work in partnership to develop proactive support for priority groups through ongoing engagement with local Department for Work and Pensions Jobcentre Plus.

99. The government and the region will also work together to better target employment support by understanding and utilising publicly available local labour market intelligence and analysis[footnote 1]. As part of the development of the economic framework, the government is committed to working together on the region’s strategic priorities and supporting the development of the region’s economic framework.

100. The Department for Work and Pensions and Cornwall Council will work together on Cornwall’s strategic priorities for employment through enhanced engagement by way of:

  • membership of the joint Department for Work and Pensions and Department for Education Mayoral Combined Authority Advisory Group
  • regular engagement with the regional Employer and Partnership team in Jobcentre Plus, and strategic labour market partnership teams

101. The Department for Work and Pensions will also consider what role Cornwall Council could have in the design and delivery of future contracted employment programmes.

Education

102. In the Levelling Up White Paper, Government announced Cornwall as one of fifty-five Education Investment Areas (EIA) to tackle areas of low educational attainment. Cornwall Council is already working closely with the Department for Education’s Regional Delivery Directorate (RDD) to improve educational attainment in Cornwall and the University of Exeter’s Centre of Social Mobility to identify the underlying issues impacting on achievement. As part of the EIA, Cornwall Council will continue to work in partnership with the RDD and local partners in the education system to improve outcomes for children and young people.

Culture, heritage, sport and language

Culture Investment Board

103. Building on the work done as part of the region’s longlisted bid for UK City of Culture 2025 to develop a shared set of ambitions, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS)’s Arm’s Length Bodies will work in partnership with Cornwall Council, alongside other local partners, to recognise and prioritise future opportunities.

104. Partnership work will focus on maximising the contribution of arts, culture, heritage and the creative industries to place-making in our villages, towns and cities, strengthening access to a distinctive and appealing cultural and heritage offer for local people, communities, and wider audiences. Realising the region’s creative and cultural potential will complement its broader ambitions, attracting and retaining young people and supporting the development of the visitor economy to extend the season, encouraging visitors, particularly international ones, throughout the year.

105. This will be supported by a refreshed Cultural Investment Board and a Memorandum of Understanding between Cornwall Council and DCMS’s Arm’s Length Bodies, which will provide updated forums and frameworks in which partners can strategically work together to support greater funding alignment, joint investment and strategic collaboration in the region. Particular strategic priorities that will help inform Arm’s Length Bodies’ investment decisions may include ‘Cornish Distinctiveness’, the local list campaign and the roll-out of Historic England’s High Streets Heritage Action Zone (HSHAZ) programme to places where there is both a clear need and opportunity, building on the success of the Redruth HSHAZ.

106. This will also include joint work to explore how to support and promote grassroots sport and physical activity as a key opportunity to tackle post-pandemic inequalities.

Cornish language

107. In 2001, the UK government formally recognised the Cornish language under the European Charter for Regional and Minority Languages. Government welcomes Cornwall Council’s continued efforts to protect and promote the Cornish language over this period, and commits to work with the council to explore ways further to support the ongoing protection and promotion of Cornish language in private and public life. This includes consideration of specific proposals to review formal arrangements regarding responsibility for Cornish language planning and delivery. Government understands that Cornish language support is a priority for Cornwall.

108. Government commits to including Cornish in any list of regional and minority languages that appears in forthcoming legislation where appropriate, to enable greater awareness and use of the Cornish language.

109. Government will provide £500,000 of funding in 2023/24 to support Cornish distinctiveness, including the protection and promotion of the Cornish language, subject to a business case.

Heritage

110. Government recognises the opportunity presented by the group of sites in Cornwall that form part of the National Heritage Collection, managed under licence by English Heritage Trust. While English Heritage Trust have already carried out significant work in this area, they will continue to work with stakeholders to raise awareness of the Cornish as a national minority and to embed the ambitions of the European Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities. Government supports English Heritage Trust’s ongoing work with Cornwall Council to review the presentation, interpretation, and marketing of sites in Cornwall to reflect the particular Cornish landscape.

Safe, healthy, resilient communities

Public service reform

111. Government supports Cornwall in its ambition for public service reform, including a focus on creating safe, healthy, resilient communities. Government commits to working with the council and partners to explore initiatives to improve delivery of public services, such as how best to support residents with multiple complex needs. Where appropriate, and as part of its levelling up agenda, government will also consider devolving further powers to Cornwall Council to support public service reform.

Place-based approach to delivery

112. Government recognises Cornwall’s innovative work to reduce health disparities and the challenges it faces to deliver health improvements across a dispersed geography. The government will work with the NHS in Cornwall and Cornwall Council to examine opportunities to align investment for place-based priorities.

Pool Health Hub

113. The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) is currently reviewing the expression of interest submitted by the Cornwall Partnership NHS Foundation Trust for a Pool Health Hub, as one of the bids for the national programme for new hospitals. Furthermore, Homes England will continue to work in partnership with Cornwall Council to help unlock the site, including using best endeavours to look at opportunities within their current and future housing and regeneration funding programmes to provide the gap funding Cornwall Council would need to act as the master developer, so that they can acquire, remediate and service the land; which will then unlock the regeneration of the site and work to enable the delivery of the Pool Health Hub and associated residential development.

Capital investment to upgrade the health estate

114. NHS England’s regional team received a business case from Cornwall in September 2022 for investment to upgrade the health estate in Bodmin. This aims to increase elective capacity across Cornwall, ensuring communities can receive more care close to where they live and reduce the need for patients to travel to Devon.

Healthy places collaboration to improve health and wellbeing

115. Cornwall Council and government will collaborate to accelerate the vision for Cornwall to be a leading global healthy place. Cornwall has many of the ingredients in place to start well, live well and age well with all the benefits of the natural environment, active lifestyles and community strengths. The additional investment through this deal in housing, infrastructure, employment and skills opportunities will all contribute a health gain for those living in Cornwall and targeted at those with poorest health.

116. The government recognises Cornwall’s innovation record and will provide a foundation for testing new public health approaches. Government will work with Cornwall Council to leverage further opportunities to reduce rural and coastal health disparities and deliver on levelling up missions 7 and 8. This approach will jointly tackle the complex health issues of our times, including childhood obesity and healthy ageing, by working with Cornwall Council to support local action on expanding access to green space, increasing physical activity, and shaping a healthier and more sustainable food environment for all to enjoy.

Crime and public safety

117. Cornwall is a place of dispersed and diverse, rural and coastal communities; where affluence sits alongside some of the most disadvantaged areas in England and there are significant health inequalities. Whilst Cornwall is a low crime area, crime and feelings of safety are driven by the same issues as nationally but on a smaller scale. Prevention is critical in ensuring that the early signs of violence in our communities do not escalate to more serious and costly levels of harm.

118. Cornwall Council, in partnership with government, will work with the Devon and Cornwall Police & Crime Commissioner (PCC) to agree an appropriate arrangement to ensure close collaboration and productive joint working on public safety between the elected mayor of Cornwall Council and PCC.

Local resilience

119. Cornwall Council will continue to have a clear role in local resilience, in line with its duties as a Category 1 responder under the Civil Contingencies Act. Following government’s full consideration of the role and responsibilities of Local Resilience Forums, there may be additional opportunities for Cornwall Council, alongside other local resilience partners, to participate in future testing and piloting of potential new roles and responsibilities for local emergency planning and preparedness, prior to any fuller national roll out.

A digital resolution for sustainable living

120. Government recognises Cornwall Council’s efforts to be at the forefront of Connected Places technology, having invested £15.5 million to install Smart LED streetlights and a LoRaWAN network throughout Cornwall. It has begun to use Internet of Things technologies to pilot schemes to address air quality, highway drainage, and town/street vitality.

121. The government is committed to supporting Cornwall’s digital connectivity ambitions, including through the upcoming Wireless Infrastructure Strategy which will set out a strategic framework for the development, deployment and adoption of 5G and future networks. This includes working closely with places to encourage investment in advanced wireless connectivity and increase its adoption across the local economy and public services.

122. As set out in the National Cyber Strategy 2022, the government is committed to strengthening the capability of local authorities such as Cornwall Council to buy and use connected places technology securely. Government will be building on the National Cyber Security Centre’s Connected Places Cyber Security Principles and hopes to work with local authorities such as Cornwall to develop these resources and other sources of support to enable the safe and secure adoption of this technology.

123. The government’s ambition is to deliver nationwide gigabit-capable broadband as soon as possible and has committed £5 billion for parts of the country that are not commercially viable, ensuring that all regions of the UK can benefit. This will be spent through a programme, Project Gigabit, which is rolling out coordinated and mutually supportive interventions. Broadband companies have been invited to bid for £36 million worth of contracts to bring fast connections for up to 19,000 homes and businesses in many of the hard-to-reach areas of Cornwall. Work will commence on getting the infrastructure rolled out across the region – including rural communities in Land’s End and the Lizard Peninsula – from early 2023.

Cornwall’s commitments underpinning the deal

124. Cornwall Council will work with the government to develop a full implementation plan, covering each policy agreed in this deal, to be completed ahead of implementation. This plan must be approved by government prior to delivery. Any issues of concern with the subsequent delivery of this deal will be escalated to Ministers and the local leader or directly elected mayor (following the inaugural election) to resolve, in keeping with the letter and spirit of devolution.

125. Cornwall Council will be required to evaluate the impact of the Cornwall Investment Fund. Cornwall Council and government will jointly commission an independent assessment of the economic benefits and economic impact of the investments made under the scheme, including whether the projects have been delivered on time and to budget. This assessment will be funded by Cornwall Council, but agreed at the outset with DLUHC and HM Treasury, and will take place every five years. The next five-year tranche of funding will be unlocked if government is satisfied that the independent assessment shows the investment to have met the objectives and contributed to economic growth. The gateway assessment should be consistent with the HM Treasury Green Book, which sets out the framework for evaluation of all policies and programmes. The assessment should also take into account the latest developments in economic evaluation methodology. Government would expect the assessment to show that the activity funded through the scheme represents better value for money than comparable projects, defined in terms of a Benefit to Cost ratio and considered in the strategic context of local ambitions for inclusive growth across the whole geography.

126. As part of the implementation of the deal, Cornwall Council and government will agree a process to manage local financial risk relating to the deal provisions.

127. Prior to the first election of the elected mayor, government will work with Cornwall Council to give the public and stakeholders – including Parliament – a clear understanding of: the powers and funding that are being devolved to Cornwall; where accountability sits as a result of this deal; and how decisions are made.

128. Cornwall Council and its members will continue to adhere to their public sector equality duties, for both existing and newly devolved responsibilities.


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