Cornwall was one of the first areas to secure a devolution deal in 2015 and it remains the only non-metropolitan area with devolved powers in England. But six years on, with significant progress made, it is clear that Cornwall has now outgrown its original deal.

In a time of crisis and uncertainty, it is Cornish businesses, communities, civil society organisations and local government that have led the response and in the coming months and year, will lead the recovery. Real long-term devolution of powers and resources for Cornwall, enacted in parliament, would turbocharge these efforts and make a significant contribution to the national effort to build back better.

In this briefing paper we examine how dynamics of identity, difference and rurality have influenced devolution and its development in Cornwall and what can be learned from this experience for devolution in the future.

We explore the case for strengthening devolution in the UK, particularly in England and set out some key principles for the Devolution & Local Recovery White Paper, due later this year. We propose that a much stronger and tangible commitment to devolution for places like Cornwall in England, alongside a strengthening of devolved powers in the devolved nations and regions, can secure a united future for the UK. Our shared prosperity depends on a fairer share of power.