As part of the Tory Libdem changes to welfare two discretionary aspects of the social fund previously administered by the Department for work and pensions (DWP), crisis loans and community care grants, have been abolished. From April 2013 funds have been given by central government to local authorities for a replacement local welfare scheme. In Cornwall this is called the Crisis and care awards scheme.

Very briefly, the scheme gives help to low-income people in an emergency with living expenses and helps vulnerable people with, for example, household equipment, to enable them to live in the community. Cornwall Council has excellent leaflets on its website here explaining the scheme.

In 2013/14 Cornwall was given £985 074 by central government for the scheme (and additional separate funds for administration).

It gave £647,724.25 of those funds to 2272 successful applications. That’s about 66 percent of the total funds the council received and about 55 percent of total applications.

The council did not distribute £337 000 of its allocated funds as crisis and care awards. It gave £150 000 of that to Citizens Advice Bureau for advice to people the council referred to it. That’s a wise use of the undistributed funds. And the rest of it? That money, meant for the vulnerable and poor in Cornwall, went into the council’s general funds.

Cornwall has been given the same amount for the scheme from central government for 2014/15 so that looks like another by-gift from the desperate to the council’s funds.

Cornwall Council should look carefully at its local criteria for these awards to make sure nobody in need is being excluded who could be included. Could the criteria reasonably be loosened? While protecting people’s privacy, is it possible for the council to give as examples details of some applications refused so that we can be reassured about the criteria in practice? A much smaller proportion of applications were successful in 2013/14 compared with the data for 2005/06 and 2009/10 in Appendix D here but some reduction was expected because of the changes in arrangements for distribution.

If the council indeed has the awarding spot on, and that may very well be so, central government has been too generous in its allocation to Cornwall. Perhaps in that case rather than absorb the undistributed surplus into general funds the council could, if permissible, give it or its equivalent to the foodbanks in the county: they are another working scheme for crisis and care scheme for people here.

More worrying is the Tory Libdem government’s intention to end the scheme at the end of the current financial year. Councils will be expected to meet the needs of the present scheme from the general funds given to them by central government, what we call their own resources. That is a severe challenge. I hope Cornwall Council is already planning how it will do this.


21 August 2014

CLICK FOR LATEST ADDED Unemployment: JSA claimants in Cornwall July 2014 and Population in Cornwall including electors

In this ongoing post I bring together data about Cornwall from various sources so that it is more readily accessible. Much is already posted at scattered places on this blog of course. All the data refers only to Cornwall and its parts (and sometimes includes and sometimes excludes the Isles of Scilly). Sources are given in square brackets; I have also included some website addresses, though these may change, so that you can explore the data for yourself. Explanatory notes with the original data are important for understanding.

Abortions |Affordable housing |Antidepressant prescribing | Average pay |Bedroom tax in Cornwall |Benefit costs in Cornwall |Cancer services | Children born in Cornwall | Civil partnerships registered in Cornwall |Classroom assistants in Cornwall schools | Cornwall Council pay | Cornwall Council employment | Cornwall disability services cuts | Council tax arrears in Cornwall | Council tax benefit recipients in Cornwall | Cornwall MPs’ expenses and allowances | Cornwall health spending | Deprivation in Cornwall |Education maintenance allowance(EMA) | Electors in Cornwall | Empty dwellings | Free school meals | Fuel poverty | GDP AND GVA | Housing benefits | House repossessions | Housing waiting lists | Landfill in Cornwall | Land use in Cornwall | Life expectancy in Cornwall | Looked-after children in Cornwall | Miscellaneous | National lottery in Cornwall | Not in education, employment, or training | Pensioners in Cornwall | Place survey 2008 | Population of Cornwall | Pupil funding | Pupil premium in Cornwall | Religion in Cornwall at 2011 census | School place appeals in Cornwall | Schoolteachers | Second homes | Smoking mothers in Cornwall | Social class in Cornwall | Sure Start | Teenage pregnancies in Cornwall | Unemployment: JSA claimants | Uncollected domestic and non-domestic local taxes | University College Falmouth: socio-economic background of students |Water and sewerage bills | Wind farm capacity factor in Cornwall 2009 |

The Department of Health annually publishes abortion statistics for England and Wales.

For the area of the Cornwall clinical commissioning group (NHS Kernow) there were 1161 abortions in 2012 (Table 10a), a rate of 13.3 per 1000 women resident here aged 15-44 (see Table 10a here. For England for 2012 the rate was 16.6 per 1000 (Table 10b).

In 2012/13 745 additional affordable dwellings were provided in Cornwall. These were made up of: 159 for social rent, 153 for affordable rent, 21 for intermediate rent, and 421 for affordable purchase in Department for works and pensions table 1011 (

Number of antidepressant items prescribed per GP practice in Cornwall per 1000 people (third quarter 2012/13: 185-225, that is the third quartile where the first quartile is least prescriptions in England). Source: Focus on: antidepressant prescribing(Nuffield Trust and Health Foundation, May 2014)

£22 246 at April 2013, (median, annual, gross, fulltime, all workers, by Cornwall residence; the England comparative median was £27 375. [ONS, ASHE 2013, Table 8.7a]. The annual mean average pay (gross, fulltime, all workers by Cornwall residence, Table 8.7a) was £26 239.

There are various ways of measuring average pay, eg mean and median average, male and female and both, fulltime and part time, by place of work and by place of residence, by local authority and by constituency, weekly pay and annual pay. Figures for median average pay tend to be less than for mean average.

ASHE Annual survey of hours and earnings here .


The updated (February 2014) figures for the bedroom tax in Cornwall as at November 2013 are:
Total number of claimants of housing benefit: 43 093
Claimants whose social rent housing benefit has been reduced: 2729
Average weekly benefit reduction: £13.51
(The reduction is applied only to relevant tenants in social housing. Housing benefit claimants are 21 152 tenants in private housing and 21 946 in social housing. The totals do not sum because of rounding.) SOURCE: Housing benefit caseload statistics December 2013

In 2011/12 the costs (in £millions) of various benefits and allowances in Cornwall were:
Total £1479.4 million, made up of -
Attendance allowance £ 55.1 million, Bereavement/widows benefit 5.1, Carers allowance 16.4, Council tax benefit 46.5, Diability living allowance (DLA) 121.0, Employment and support allowance (ESA) 31.4, Housing benefit 178.0, Incapacity benefit 46.2, Income support 54.3, Job seekers allowance (JSA) 30.4, Pension credit 83.0, Severe disablement allowance 8.0, State pension 780.1, Winter fuel payments (WFP) 24.0. The total of these figures is in England 2011/12 was £131803 million. SOURCE Department of work and pensions (

The second annual report on some cancer services and outcomes was published by the Department of Health on 1 December 2009. It includes data for Cornwall and Isles of Scilly primary care trust and the Royal Cornwall Hospitals Trust (RCHT) on pages 29, 46, and 67.

The ONS publishes the details for England and Wales of the numbers of live births to mothers who themselves were born in the United Kingdom or born outside the United Kingdom in each year. The figures for Cornwall (excluding the Isles of Scilly), with much lower percentages than for England as a whole, for the first and last years of the series are:

2008: 5423 live births, 92.4 percent of which were to mothers born inside the UK
2001: 4463 live births, 94.5 percent of which were to mothers born in the UK.

In 2010 there were 5558 live births in Cornwall: see table 1a ONS here.

The data is in tables 3a-3h on this ONS website which also gives separate figures for each of the former districts in Cornwall. [ONS]

Civil partnerships became possible in Britain with the coming into force of the Civil Partnership Act 2004 on 5 December 2005.

Civil partnerships registered in Cornwall by year:
2005: none
2006: 160
2007: 85
2008: 62
2009: 69
2010: 60
2011: 71
2012: 77
Sources: Lords Hansard 6 June 2011 column WA 15-16 (for years 2005-09) and ONS Civil partnership formations, Table 3.1 (for years 2008-2011)

At November 2012 there were 2462 fulltime classroom assistants in Cornwall schools [Hansard 2 Sepember 2013 column 65W]

The number of people employed by Cornwall Council was 20 994 (31 December 2009) and 16 367 (30 September 2011) [Graham Smith's blog 20 January 2012 here.]

Some details of the total pay of the council’s employees getting at least £100 000 pa are summarised in Town hall rich list by the Taxpayers Alliance, 17 March 2011. Table 3 shows thirty two employees of Cornwall Council getting £100 000 pa or more in remuneration, including employer’s pension contributions, in 2009/10. This makes Cornwall, with Newcastle on Tyne, the council with the highest number of employees over this benchmark for the year.

A survey by Demos and Scope of how 152 local authorities in England are handling cuts to disability services puts Cornwall Council at 11th out of 152 (where 1st is best).

In 2011-2012 the total revenue funding of Cornwall and Isles of Scilly (CIOS) primary care trust is £916.136 million. This is an increase of 3.1 percent over 2010-2011. The CIOS percapita funding is £1687 pa for 2011-2012. For England trusts as a whole the percapita spending is £1693, an increase of 3 .0 percent over 2010-2011. [See Department for health Exposition book 2011-2012. (scroll to the Exposition book). Also seeHansard 5 April 2011 column829W for net data.]


These are now published by the Independent parliamentary standards authority (IPSA) here.


At 31 March 2011 the total outstanding council tax arrears in Cornwall was
£12 877 000 [DEP2012-1047 of 25 June 2012]


At March 2012 the number of council tax benefit recipients in Cornwall was 54 170 (April 2011: 52 490). At January 2011 the recipients by Cornwall constituency were:
Camborne and Redruth 9760. North Cornwall 8130. South East Cornwall 7810. St Austell and Newquay 9870. St Ives (including Isles of Scilly) 9200. Truro and Falmouth 7800. [ DWPAdditional tables, updated regularly]

There are several ways of measuring deprivation. The Indices of multiple deprivation (IMD) are a major one.

The IMD of 2007 show Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly at 69th out of 142 ‘counties, cities, and London boroughs’ in England, where 1st is the most deprived. The IMD puts the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly primary care trust (CIOS) area at 74th out of 152 trust areas where 1st is the most deprived.The IMD of 2010 show Cornwall unitary authority at 110 out of 326 local authorities (rank of average score).

The IMD 2007 give these results for the former districts of Cornwall out of 354 districts in England, the score 1st is the most deprived: Penwith 36th, Kerrier 86th, Restormel 89th, North Cornwall 96th, Carrick 120th, and Caradon 156th. The IMD 2010 do not include the former districts of Cornwall, by then abolished.

IMD deprivation varies vastly across Cornwall and the measurements for 32 482 subwards in England which are available show this clearly.

See the IMD 2007 here. The IMD 2010 are here [new addresses as the former DCLG ones no longer work]

The Health Observatory website here has some deprivation data for Cornwall too. Also look at the data above for free school meals in Cornwall.

The estimate of the End Child Poverty campaign for mid-2010 was that 19 percent of children in Cornwall live in poverty, below the England average: read their definition. Data for Cornwall wards is given.

At August 2011 there were 7647 recipients of the England education education allowance (EMA) in Cornwall. This is for 16-18 year olds to encourage them to stay on at school or college. EMA has since been abolished. [Source: Young people's learning agency]

See this post of 27 January 2012 for details of the England bursary scheme and the Cornwall bursary scheme.

There were 9522 empty dwellings in Cornwall at 5 October 2010. Figures for previous years were October 2009: 9407; October 2008 for the six districts: 9012. [Hansard 14 May 2009 columns 998W-999W; Empty Homes Agency]

Eligibility for free school meals is an indication of income deprivation and is an influence on educational achievement.

Percentage of primary and nursery pupils eligible for free school meals, January 2011:
England 18.0 (2010: 17.3)
Cornwall 14.1 (2010: 13.0)

Percentage of secondary pupils eligible for free school meals, January 2011:
England 14.6 (2010: 14.2)
Cornwall 10.8 (2010: 10.3)
[Scroll on the Education department web page to the
free school meals tables

The relationship of eligibility for free school meals and not gaining any GCSEs above grade D is given in DEP 2009-0918 of 19 March 2009 (Parliamentary Library).

Also see the data for deprivation below.

The percentage of pupils in individual schools eligible for free school meals at January 2009 is given in the Parliamentary Library deposited papers at DEP 2010-0089 for 11 January 2010. Cornwall LA number on the data sheet is 908.

The Department of energy and climate change (DECC) publishes data for households in fuel poverty. There are statistics for the numbers of households in fuel poverty for the six constituencies and 327 subwards in Cornwall in 2010.

Fuel poverty is defined as having to spend more than ten percent of income on a satisfactory heating regime: more details on the DECC website.

In Cornwall as whole in 2009 around 60 000 households were classed as in fuel poverty, about 26 percent of all households; in 2010 the figures were 44 706 and 19.1 percent.

The latest GVA data for Cornwall and the Scillies was published by the ONS on 14 December 2011. Cornwall GVA perhead, current prices by workplace, was £13 129 in 2009. (£13 256 in 2008, £12 681 in 2007) which is 65.6 percent of the UK mean average (64.5 percent in 2008, 63.6 percent in 2007). Details from the ONS for 2009 are here (NUTS 2 subregions).


At March 2012 there were 42 680 recipients of housing benefit in Cornwall (April 2011: 40 590). At January 2011 numbers of recipients by constituency were:
Camborne and Redruth 7310. North Cornwall 6060. South East Cornwall 5910. St Austell and Newquay 8120. St Ives (including the Isles of Scilly) 7070. Truro and Falmouth 6070. [ DWP Additional tables, updated regularly]

In July 2010 there were 39 710 people in Cornwall claiming housing benefit of which 12 840 received local housing allowance, the housing benefit for people not in social/council housing but private rented accommodation. Note that the recipients are ‘benefit units’ who might be a single person or a couple. [Table 2 in DEP2010-1938 of 4 November 2010 in House of Commons library]

There was a total of 820 orders for mortgage and landlord repossessions in Cornwall (unitary authority and the Isles of Scilly) in 2011. The figure for martgage repossession orders only was 360. [Ministry of Justice:

In 2011/12 there were 505 mortgage repossession claims in Cornwall and the rate of repossession claims in Cornwall was 2.4 per 1000 houses; Cornwall was 235th out of 324 England local authorities (where 1 is worst). [Shelter]

HOUSING WAITING LISTS At the end of August 2013 were were about 28 600 households on the Cornwall unitary council housing waiting list. At 1 April 1997 there were 8124. The details from the Department of communities, by district and by years 1997-2012, are in Table 600 here. There are statistics for both the current Cornwall unitary authority and the former shire county. Read the explanation of the figures at the foot of the table. The current Cornwall details are here.

Cornwall 2007/08:
Total municipal waste 324 480 tonnes
Total municipal waste sent to landfill 210 386 tonnes (64.84 percent of total municipal waste)
The average proportion of municipal waste sent to landfill for the 121 unitary and waste disposal authorities in England was 54.42 percent.
[Hansard 26 October 2009 column 50W-54W]

Details of land use in Cornwall are available for the six former districts and for wards. The categories are given in square metres for domestic buildings, nondomestic buildings, domestic gardens, roads, rail, paths, greenspace, water, other, and unclassified. The tables are at Census ward levels GLUD 2005 tables. GLUD means Generalised land use database. An explanatory document of the GLUD statistics is here.

LOOKED-AFTER CHILDREN IN CORNWALLAT 31 March 2012 there were 480 (to nearest five) children under eighteen who were in the care of Cornwall local authority. Figures for England were 67 050 (to nearest ten). The data is in Table LAA1 here and covers several past years.

Life expectancy at birth in Cornwall 2009-2011: males 79.2 years, females 83.3 years (England: males 78.9, females 82.9). Cornwall ranks 57 out of 150 local authorities for both male and female life expectancy where 1 is best [ONS, 'Healthy life expectancy at birth for upper tier local authorities']. Healthy life runs at about 80 percent of the total years of life expectancy.

Statistics for Cornish towns is a booklet produced by the Office of National Statistics (ONS). The revised version is dated September 2009. It contains data about deprivation, the number and size of businesses, unemployment, and population. Read it through the South West Observatory here.The South West Observatory website also has other data.

South West Regional Development Agency (SWRDA) (now abolished) published in October 2009 Economic profile: issue 8 which discusses Cornwall’s economy in the recession on pages 20-25. Read it here.

Since the National Lottery began in 1995 and up to September 2011, £265.745 million has been distributed in Cornwall.
Source: Department for culture, media, and sport

The number of young people aged 16-24 in Cornwall who are not in education, employment, or training (NEETS) was 6000 for January-December 2009. This was 12 percent of the age group. The Cornwall percentage is the 23rd lowest of the 148 local authorities listed. For the reliability of the figures, see the original. [Hansard 20 July 2010 column 303W]

There are about 137 000 old age pensioners in Cornwall (males aged 65 and over, females 60 and over, mid-2010). The full figures, including for both the county and the former districts, are in this zip file on the ONS website. [ONS]

A survey in 2008 by the Department for Communities and Local Government looked at people’s views of the locality and local services. Question 5 asked people how strongly they felt they belonged to their immediate neighbourhood. In the Cornwall area 66.5 percent said fairly or very strongly. This was 53rd out of 353 council areas, the largest percentage being at number 1.
[Department of Communities and Local Government Place survey 2008]

The estimated population of Cornwall, excluding the Isles of Scilly, at the 2011 census (27 March 2011) was 532 273.
There are various counts of people in Cornwall.

Census and mid-year estimates
2011 census: 532 273 (Table PO7)
About 430 000 (81 percent) were aged eighteen or over but see Electoral register.
Mid-year estimate 2012: 537 914

Electoral register
The Office for national statistics (ONS) has published electoral register statistics. They are up to date up to February 2014.
Cornwall local government electors: 409 639
Cornwall parliamentary electors: 406 887

(Parliamentary electors in Camborne and Redruth 64 769, North Cornwall 63 718, South East Cornwall 68 570, St Austell and Newquay 73 808, St Ives 65 736, Truro and Falmouth 70 286).

Patients registered with GPs in Cornwall and Isles of Scilly(Kernow Clinical Commissioning Group)
Clinical commissioning group population 2012: 555 917

All the electoral register figures include attainers, that is electors who attain the age of eighteen in the months after the compilation of the register.

The mid-year resident population aged 18 and over includes everyone whereas the electoral register includes only those eligible to vote and thus excludes some foreign citizens for example; people who move away are removed from the register but this may not be instantaneous.

The number of GP patients in England has regularly exceeded the population every year since 1961.

Reasons for excess population on GP lists are given here: some patients are registered with more than one practice, some have more than one NHS number, some patients remain on the list after they have died or moved abroad, and the effectiveness of the removal of ex-patients varies.

The per-pupil dedicated schools grant (DSG) for 2011-12 includes various other grants and is now known as GUFS, guaranteed units of funding. For 2011-12 GUFS include the 2010-11 DSG at the same cash level plus the other grants. For 2011-12 Cornwall per pupil GUF is £4663.54, made up of £4042.72 DSG 2010-11 and £620.82 other relevant 2010-11 grants.

Details are here at the excel file GUFS 2011-12.

In terms of per pupil funding for 2011-12 Cornwall is 134th out of 151 authorities (that is at the 12th percentile); seventeen authorities have lower GUF funding than Cornwall. The average England per pupil GUF 2011-12 is £5082.53. Any pupil premium for individual pupils and students is additional to GUF.

The dedicated schools grant (DSG) began in 2006/07 and earlier per pupil allocations are not directly comparable. Before 2006/07 schools were funded largely through the formula grant which, apart from the DSG, is the main grant from central government to local authorities.

The pupil premium began in 2011/12. It has three components for deprivation (broadly eligibility for free school meals); military service children; looked-after children.In 2012/13 the amounts for each pupil were increased and the eligibility for the deprivation component was widened.

In 2011/12 10 690 pupils in Cornwall state-funded schools, including academies, qualified for a pupil premium with a total funding of £4.741 million; that is, 16.4 percent of all pupils in those schools. In 2012/13 the provisional figure is 16 050 pupils (24.6 percent) and £9.049 million. [ Department for Education]

The 2011 census in table QS210EW gave the following: Christians 318 357, 59.8 percent of the population of Cornwall; Other religions 9480, 1.8 percent; No religion 159 080, 29.9 percent; Religion not stated 45 356, 8.5 percent.

In 2007/08 there were 277 appeals by parents against the non-admission of their child to their preferred primary school in Cornwall; 75 were successful. For secondary schools in Cornwall the figures are 405 and 151.

8183 children were admitted to Cornwall primary schools September 2007-January 2008 and 6514 to secondary schools in the same period.
[Department for children, families, and schools: here (scroll to table 3)]

The number of fulltime-equivalent schoolteachers in Cornwall maintained at January 2010 was 2190 in secondary schools and 1930 in nursery and primary schools and 120 in special schools: total 4240 (including 170 unqualified teachers). There were 1490 secondary teaching assistants and other secondary support staff and 2000 primary ones. The school workforce data is here. The cost of employing teachers in Cornwall Council maintained schools for 2008-2009 was £18.87 million and for teaching assistants £4.646 million (Hansard 27 October 2010 column 364W-368W). The average teacher salary in Cornwall in £36 000 in 2009 (website above). All the figures are for fulltime-equivalent staff.

Second homes in Cornwall (excluding Scillies) totalled 14 095 in 2010, 5.6 percent of the housing stock, based on council tax [House of Commons Library DEP2010-2186 of 6 December 2010]. In 2004 there were 13 509 second homes. The DEP data gives district totals and percentages for 2004-2008.

In terms of numbers of second homes in 2008 North Cornwall was 7th out of 354 England authorities, Penwith 15th, Carrick 24th, Caradon 26th, Restormel 30th, and Kerrier 47th. These positions represent numbers of second homes not percentages of housing stock.

The estimated cost of the second homes discount in Cornwall was £2 067 000 [Department for Communities and Local Government local authority council tax database 2011: Parliamentary Library, DEP 2012-0644, 17 April 2012]

The Health and social care information centre (HSCIC) publishes quarterly and annual statistics on the number and percentage of mothers who are smoking at the time of delivery. For 2012/13 the Cornwall percentage was 13.8, the England percentage 12.7. See here. The Cornwall and England statistics show a decline in mothers smoking at the time of delivery over the decade. In 2005/06 the Cornwall figure was 19.9 percent.

The 2011 census in QS611EW, approximate social grade, gives the proportions of people in Cornwalll (aged 16-64 in households) in social groups: AB 18.3 percent, C1 28.7 percent, C2 27.2 percent, DE 25.8 percent. [2011 census, ONS]

At the end of October 2009 there were thirty seven Sure Start Centres in Cornwall.
[ Hansard 14 December 2009 column 702W]

In 2009 there were 292 conceptions to under-18 girls in Cornwall, 30.5 per 1000 girls in Cornwall aged 15-17. In England the average was 38.2 per 1000 (45.5 per 1000 in 1997 in England). [Source: Hansard 12 December 2011 column 517W which gives the data for every primary local authority]

All JSA claimants in Cornwall and Isles of Scilly (resident population aged 18-64). July 2014: 4632, 1.4 percent (June 2014: 4924, 1.5 percent; July 2313: 7287, 2.2 percent)[ONS Nomis].

Cornwall and Scillies youth claimant count (resident population aged 18-24). July 2014: 1155 (June 2014: 1280 July 2013: 2060) [ONS Nomis]

The 2013 contribution-based jobseekers allowance (JSA) broadly is £71.70 a week for people aged 25 and over 25 and £56.25 a week for people aged 16 to 24. The value of the income-based JSA is different. For details see here.

The jobseekers claimant count is not a measure of unemployment but of people claiming the benefit who must be, inter alia, available for work and actively seeking work.

This website gives details of jobseeker claimant counts over time for Cornwall:

This website gives details of the youth claimant counts over time in Cornwall:

Claimant by constituencies is here:
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These are general labour statistics for Cornwall and Scilly:

The latest labour force survey data, a measure of employment/unemployment, is for October 2011-September 2012:

For 2009/10 the total of uncollected council tax in Cornwall was £5.967 million (2.5 percent of the total due) and uncollected non-domestic rates £3.635 million (2. 9 percent) [GMB union 22 July 2010]

Socio-economic data about first degree students entering University College, Falmouth in 2008/09 has been published by the Higher education statistics agency (HESA). It is available at the Guardian here: Falmouth is number 35 in the second table or scroll to Download the full spreadsheet where Falmouth is number 44.

31.6 percent of the first degree Falmouth entrants were working class, that is the occupation of the senior working parent was in a routine or manual occupation (groups 4, 5, 6, and 7 in National Statistics: socio-economic classification). The mean average for all England universities was 32.4 percent. The working class made up about 37 percent of the UK population (ONS).

The average water and sewerage bill for customers of South West Water, including people in Cornwall, is £549 in 203/14.

The average bills for the different England companies for 2009/10 to 2013/14 are given in DEP2013-1980 of 9 December 2013. All are lower than South West’s.

The nine wind farm developments in Cornwall in 2009 had an average output of 22.37% of their capacity.
[Michael Jefferson, professor of International Business and Sustainability at the London Metropolitan Business School cited here and here.]

People assessed as unfit for work are being reassessed. Between October 2010 and July 2011 in England 37 percent were reassessed as fit for work and 63 percent as eligible for employment support allowance (ESA). In Cornwall (excluding the Isles of Scilly) the figures were 34 percent fit for work and 66 percent eligible for ESA. Details are given by the Department for work and pensions in an excel spreadsheet dated 20 April 2012 here.

General sources

These data and research pages on the website site of Cornwall unitary council carry very much societal data about Cornwall.

ASHE Annual survey of hours and earnings (

DEP Deposited parliamentary papers (

Hansard (

ONS Office for National Statistics

Teachernet (

A useful website for understanding local government language is:

Cornwall Council publishes a monthly report on the local and national economy:
Economy monthly monotoring update( 22498)

Health and welfare data for Cornwall is available from Public Health Observatories here.


14 August 2014

Among the changes made by the Tory Libdem Welfare Reform Act was the requirement of people who become unemployed to wait for five and a half weeks before receiving any unemployment benefit – a month statutory wait and then a week for administration. Currently they wait two weeks.

The government says that this wait matches the monthly pay cycle of many in work and thus prepares people for their eventual transition to work. This makes sense in theory – and saves public money in administration – but what of it in real life?

How are people supposed to live without money? You work hard, pull your weight, contribute to our national prosperity – and then when you lose your job, through no fault of your own, you have to wait for five weeks for any supporting money.

Research by Step Change (Life on the edge) shows that around “13 million people do not have enough savings to keep up with essentials for a month if their income dropped by a quarter”. Of course, modest wages make saving for rainy days very difficult. It is difficult for people when they lose their job and we should not compound those difficulties by leaving people without financial support for five weeks. People should be able to focus on getting back in to work, not worrying unnecessarily about money. We should not be planning to put people in debt and poverty.

The government received serious advice about an unacceptable likely consequence of the five-weeks rule. For example, the Social Market Foundation gave telling evidence to the works and pensions select committee about the government’s theory and plans. It said that “some households will be unable to cope and will run out of money before the end of the month”.

The issue was raised by Labour (Kate Green in Hansard at second reading 9 March 2011 column 1012; and in Public Bill Committee 29 March 2011, page 180) but the regulations (Universal Credit Regulations 2013, statutory instrument 376) bringing the payment cycle into force stuck with five weeks.

Now the TUC has found that 300 000 people will be affected by the long wait.

I understand that welfare provisions should be regularly examined and changed from time to time to make them responsive to contemporary circumstances and to encourage and support people into work. However, this five-week rule, unless mitigated by exemptions, seems to fly in the face of compelling arguments of its likely adverse effects. That suggests that Tory Libdem ideology rather than realism is the driver.


Universal credit: the problem of delay in benefit payments by Carl PACKMAN


RIEUX Adrien et al ‘Improved calibration of the human mitochondrial clock using ancient genomes’ in Molecular biology and evolution August 2014. You can access a free pdf of the full text here.

This research shows that the most recent common female ancestor of homo sapiens dates from 143 000 years ago. We’re all related, as I have said many times on the blog. Where those claims of distinctiveness go wrong is that they stop too soon; despite claims of antiquity, they do not look far enough into the past to see our commonalities. This is not to say tribal differences have not been constructed since but they are comparatively recent and they are only layers on our commonality. I think we should primarily focus on our commonality rather than the constructs and phenotypic traits that separate us.

Of course, 143 000 years ago all homo sapiens were still in Africa. That means we Europeans are all – English, Cornish, and the rest – the descendants of colonists and settlers.

The nationalist ancestry and descendancy delusion

A telling rebuttal to nationalist ancestry and descendancy particularity is this from research into our commonality: “No matter the languages we speak or the color of our skin, we share ancestors who planted rice on the banks of the Yangtze, who first domesticated horses on the steppes of the Ukraine, who hunted giant sloths in the forests of North and South America, and who labored to build the Great Pyramid of Khufu” – Modelling the recent common ancestry of all living humans Douglas LT ROHDE et al Nature 431 pages 562-566, 30 September 2004. (Free summary but full item chargeable.)

Earlier posts

Ranivorous Britons 16 October 2013

The origins of the Cornish 8 March 2013

Cornish and English bulging 6 January 2013

Monkeys and me 24 October 2012

English and Cornish share a part neandertal ancestry 23 October 2012

A common source for the English and Cornish 14 May 2012

A walrus, a mouse, and a man went into a bar 18 July 2010

Puny boundaries 19 May 2010

To see oursels as ithers see us 17 May 2010

A wondrous mixture 8 May 2010

The Cornishman, the Englishman, and the frog 2 May 2010

The first Cornishman 1 May 2010

Cornwall 5460 years ago (The Balaresque study) 31 January 2010

Atomising people 12 September 2008

Blue-eyed Cornish and English are brothers 31 January 2008

English and Cornish are sisters under the skin 20 July 2007

English and Cornish have same milk gene 10 March 2007


11 August 2014

Because statistics tell us

Read this striking post by Nigel Hawkes of Straight Statistics:
Why are so many men pregnant?

A few weeks ago the Commons debated a Labour motion on the private rented sector of housing: Hansard 25 June 2014 column 318. The private rented houses have grown in number over the last few years and now there area around two million children in England living in them. In Cornwall the 2011 census showed 88 634 people lived in private rented housing, nearly 17 percent of the county’s population (2011 census QS403EW and QS405EW). This is a significant part of housing and affects a significant proportion of people here. The post Hidden housing need in Cornwall discusses some concerns about some of this housing.

The Labour motion called for three year tenancies to replace the present default six-month ones, the banning of letting fees, and the banning of excessive rent rises for people on the longer tenancies.

There is a rational division of thinking on the relationship of regulation, supply, and the level of rents. The prevalent Tory view is that tenants need protection but past experience in England suggests – suggests not proves as there were other reasons why the private rented market shrank after 1945 – that constraints that are too fierce drive away landlords and the sector shrivels; the way to control rents and standards is through competition bought about by increased supply, more building and a larger private rented sector, more choice for tenants. I think a belief in the benign effects of competition is naive. Additionally, the shortfall is so large that I suspect supply would have to be increased vastly to affect rents and the comfortably housed would complain effectively to stop that increase.

The Labour view is that rent regulation is necessary and feasible and would not damage the sector: see the reference to European practice in Frank Dobson’s speech at column 333.

There is a balance to be made between regulations on the private rented sector to protect tenants and the freedoms for landlords that attract investment and increase supply. I think the balance is a practical question.

The lengthening of tenancies is important: the present six-month ones lead to “a lack of stability and certainty” for people, including children, and make it difficult for people to put down roots in a community. They can disrupt family life and children’s schooling as Alan Whitehead showed (column 337). Labour’s proposal includes the right to shorter terms. Predictable and reasonable rent rises enable people to plan their budgets and be financially responsible, sudden and large ones don’t.

Labour’s proposals on letting fees are fine only as far as they go but they have not been thought through; they do not prevent letting agents putting the charge on to landlords who can then add them on to the rent (column 336). It is disturbing that Labour has not apparently seen this unintended consequence or is indifferent to it and its official response to the issue (columns 327 and 370) is lamentable.

The measures called for in the Labour motion strike me as progressive and socially just and financially sensible and balanced. As Mark Prisk, who made the best speech in the debate, pointed out the Labour government’s record in this area is shameful and the I see the motion as a repentance. The Tory Libdem government recited its modest work in the area.

Of course the motion was defeated. The vote was 276 to 226.

How Cornwall MPs voted
Voted against the motion: Andrew George (Libdem), Sheryll Murray and Sarah Newton (Tory). No vote recorded: Stephen Gilbert and Dan Rogerson (Libdem), George Eustice (Tory).

Generation rent has some relevant and first hand comments on the private rented sector.

I have come across this excellent article by Peter Tatchell which discusses an interesting and often forgotten aspect of World War I. It makes me want to know more.

The hidden story of soldiers’ mutinies, strikes, and riots, Peter Tatchell 1 August 2014.


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