Client: Cornwall County Council
PR Team: Bell Pottinger Consultants and Bell Pottinger Public
Campaign: Cornwall Now! - and in the Future
Timescale: May 1998 to March 1999
In May 1998, Cornwall County Council appointed Bell Pottinger
Consultants and Bell Pottinger Public Affairs to help secure Objective 1
funding from Europe for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. The purpose of
Objective 1 funding is to regenerate areas whose GDP per head is less
than 75 per cent of the European Union average.
A significant factor was the possibility that the impoverished eastern
and central European states might soon join the EU. Therefore this was
likely to be the last chance for the region to receive a European
To present a programme for economic regeneration and development to the
European Commission (EC) that would result in Objective 1 funding for
Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly for the period 2000 to 2006.
Strategy and Plan
To qualify for Objective 1 funding it was vital to persuade the British
government that it was unfair to measure the economies of Cornwall and
Devon as one. While Cornwall had a GDP per head of only 69 per cent of
the EU average, the more prosperous Devon pushed this figure over the
all important 75 per cent.
In July 1998, the case for Cornwall to stand alone was presented to
Richard Caborn, the minister for the regions at the Department of the
Environment, Transport and the Regions (DETR): he agreed to give
separate status for Cornwall and Scilly.
As there are political as well as economic reasons why EU money is
allocated, the PR team also needed to raise the profile of the Cornish
campaign in London and Brussels and bring on board all the local bodies
with a stake in Cornwall’s future.
To this end in November 1998, Bell Pottinger organised a two-day
conference in Bude, where local council leaders, business leaders, trade
unions and MPs thrashed out priorities for the proposed funding.
The PR team produced regular briefing documents for EC and Government,
and sent a consultation leaflet to every house in Cornwall and
In February 1999, a Cornish delegation presented the DETR in London with
a copy of its submission to the EC. This was timed to coincide with a
run at the Royal National Theatre by the Cornish Kneehigh Theatre
On the 22 February, a large reception was held at the National attended
by Richard Caborn and deputy prime minister John Prescott.
In March, Cornwall Now! made its formal submission for Objective 1
funding to the EC.
Measurement and Evaluation
While no formal evaluation of this campaign has occurred, or is likely,
the PR team was able to measure its performance with some solid
Obviously its success or failure rested firmly on whether it won the
money, but gaining NUTS 2 status (Level 2 of the Nomenclature of
Territorial Statistics) for Cornwall and Scilly last July was clearly a
major indicator of progress.
On 1 July, Richard Caborn announced that the people of Cornwall and
Scilly had been awarded pounds 310 million under Objective 1
regeneration money for the English regions for the period 2000-2006.
This was clearly the fruit of a well-organised campaign that ensured all
parties from local people to decision-makers in London and Brussels were
kept involved at every step.