CAMPAIGNS: PUBLIC AFFAIRS - Cornwall wins the European lottery

Client: Cornwall County Council

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

Budget: Undisclosed

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.

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