8. FINANCE

8. FINANCE

For 2018-9, Cornwall Council has annual spending budget of ca £600 million NET. We need to explore ways in which we can use this budget to build an economy which is both equitable and sustainable, and which meets the needs of all Cornwall residents. Beyond that, there is also the Regional Investment Bank based in Bristol, but bringing decision making nearer home implies that we should press for a Cornwall Investment Bank designed specifically to cater for local need and conditions. Cornwall Pension Fund, administered for Cornwall Council, has some £1.75 billion of assets, and this and other pension funds could be encouraged by various means only to fund, or to give preference to ‘green’ investments. In 2009, the distinguished economist Ann Pettifor suggested that the bailed-out banks should fund the Green New Deal.

However, beyond these ‘top-down’ agencies, the Preston model also employs a Community Wealth Fund model which (a) localises spending thus securing investment in local supply chains and improving local economic competitiveness, (b) builds a skilled and committed workforce and providing an exemplar to local businesses paying at least the Living Wage, (c) brings in additional investment to encourage the development of new businesses, and (d) support the growth of alternative models of economic governance which give citizens greater investment in and control over their economic future. This may be a way to build up local assets and infrastructure outside more conventional sources of funds (which we should also approach!).

All of these sources could be used in some way to fund a programme of ‘greening’ the Cornish economy to make it more sustainable and more equitable, by funding Community Energy schemes and starting up businesses run on cooperative lines feeding in to local procurement. Some of this can be done already, as seen at Preston and other cities. Some of it would need a change of government.