The provisional ASHE data for 2015 has been published by the Office for national statistics (ONS). It shows that the average pay in Cornwall was £23 346 for the year ending April 2015. This is the data for pay given in Table 8.7a, that is, median average, annual, gross, fulltime, all employees, by Cornwall residence. The various ASHE data also gives the mean average pay, and median and mean for each constituency, for males and females, for part time workers, and for different years.

The tables are here here.

ASHE: Annual survey of hours and earnings

Nous sommes tous les parisiens

The other evening the House of Commons had a civilised and compelling half-an-hour discussion which honoured all the MPs who took part and who were there. It was initiated by Will Quince and Antoinette Sandbach, two Tory MPs who made deeply moving and vastly effective speeches from experience. The minister responded positively and well.

The discussion was about bereavement care in maternity units and the importance of dedicated facilities and understanding, empathising staff. You can read it in Hansard 2 November 2015 beginning at column 844. A few of the examples of “care” given are very distressing and troubling; they are thankfully matched by examples of genuinely caring and supportive staff.

I very much hope we shall see excellent dedicated bereavement care facilities in maternity units in every hospital.


2 November 2015

Today increases in the living wage have been announced. Outside London it rises to £8.25 an hour and in London £9.40 an hour.

Slowly the wage is spreading. 2000 businesses are now signed up to it. They include major national companies like Barclays Bank and Lidl and in Cornwall a growing number of local companies and organisations such as Cornwall Council, Volunteer Cornwall, and St Merryn Holiday Park.

However, a large proportion of workers in Cornwall, fulltime and part time, are paid less than the living wage. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) says that last year 31.6 percent of all workers in Cornwall were paid less than the then living wage.

Let us welcome the progress but push for more to get it.

Note that this is the real living wage not George Osborne’s “national living wage” which will be £7.20 an hour for those over twenty five.

The Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) has published data that shows malnutrition, among other diseases we associate with Victorian times, has increased in the Devon, Cornwall, and Isles of Scilly NHS area. You can see the data in the excel file Topic of Interest-Victorian Diseases-Data here.

In the year August 2014-July 2015 the rate of malnutrition admission episodes in Devon, Cornwall, Isles of Scilly NHS team area was 2.4 per 100 000 population, the highest of the twenty five areas of England. This is nearly double the average rate for England of 1.3. There has been an increase of 34 percent over 2010/11 admissions for malnutrition in the Devon, Cornwall, and Isles of Scilly area.

The number of admissions in the area is very small but I think it is troubling that malnutrition is around and increasing in 2015. Look too at patients’ ages. Note too that the numbers are not of individuals but admissions as a patient may be admitted more than once in a year.

The Trussell Trust, which runs foodbanks, has said, “We often see parents who are going without food so that they can feed their children.” In Britain. In 2015. There is a growing food crisis for many in our country and the Tory government is floundering.

The published data does not show how many of the admissions were of people separately resident in each of the three counties in the team area.

In this this post I am recording how the Lords members associated with Cornwall voted yesterday on the government’s planned tax credit changes.

Read the amendments, debate, and votes

There were three amendments, all proposed by women members, to the government’s plans. I put details and references below, along with the votes of members of the Lords who I am aware are associated with Cornwall and who voted.

Liberal Democrat Zahida Manzoor’s amendment rejected the tax credit cuts outright saying the house “declines to approve” the tax credit cuts: defeated 310-99. Liberal Democrats Judith Jolly, Robin Teverson, and Paul Tyler voted for the amendment. The amendment is at column 982, the vote at column 1030.

Crossbencher Molly Meacher’s amendment requires a response from the government to the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) analysis of the changes and possible mitigation of adverse effects. Liberal Democrats Judith Jolly, Robin Teverson, and Paul Tyler and Labour’s Tony Berkeley voted for the amendment. The amendment is at column 1033, vote at column 1034.

Labour Patricia Hollis’s amendment requires the government to provide “full transitional protection” for present claimants against adverse impact of the tax credit cuts for a minimum of three years, along with a response to the IFS analysis and possible mitigation. Liberal Democrats Judith Jolly, Robin Teverson, and Paul Tyler and Labour’s Tony Berkeley voted for the amendment. The amendment and vote are at column 1038.

I welcome the Lords positive Meacher and Hollis votes. We live in interesting times.

On Monday, 20 October 2015, the Commons debated a non-binding Labour motion: “this House calls on the Government to reverse its decision to cut tax credits”. The debate begins at Hansard column 845 and the vote at column 923.

The debate arose from the concerns that the Tory government’s changes to welfare and tax credits make around 3 million families worse off. I wrote about this in the posts Robbing the working poor  and Assaulting poverty or the poor.

In the vote on the Labour motion Sarah Newton was a teller for the noes and the other five Cornwall Tory MPs voted against the Labour motion.

This is a repeat of the vote from Cornwall MPs last month to approve the regulations for the tax credit changes: see Hansard 15 September 2015. The debate begins at column 964, the vote is at column 989. Sarah Newton was a teller for the ayes and the other five Tory MPs for Cornwall voted for the regulations.

At prime minister’s questions on 21 October David Cameron said he was “delighted” – yes, that’s the very word he used – that the tax credit cuts and other changes had been approved by the Commons (Hansard 21 October 2015 column 948).

Are the Cornwall Tory MPs delighted too? Read the comments of Steve Double (St Austell and Newquay) and Derek Thomas (St Ives) extracts of which I have put below; do read the whole of what they said.

On 22 October 2015 Steve Double wrote on his blog : “I have been working behind the scenes to ask the Government to do something to ease the impact of these cuts. I have met with the Chancellor George Osborne and have written to the Prime Minister… I want to make clear that I support the principle of reducing tax credits but believe the severity of what is proposed needs to be addressed. I will continue to work towards a different solution, a solution that softens the blow that has come relatively swiftly.”

Protestors against the cuts gave Derek Thomas a petition. The   Cornishman  reports on 28 July 2015:

“Mr Thomas said he would work to alleviate the plight of anyone suffering hardship as a result of the cuts…

‘I completely agree that the Government needs to strike the right balance when reforming welfare. There is a need to reduce welfare spending but we must be careful that people do not experience unacceptable (and unintended) levels of hardship.

‘I will work hard to help people who find themselves in this situation and I have offered to hold a regular drop-in surgery in the Changing Room so that people can get help when needed.’ ”

I am not clear what the other four MPs think on the issue.

The Commons will look at the tax credit changes yet again on 29 October with a motion calling for mitigation of the effect on low paid workers and their families. It will be interesting to see how the six vote. The issue will be before the House of Lords on 26 October. Signatories to a letter from members calling for change so that working families do not experience “major overall losses” include Tim Thornton, bishop of Truro, and Robin Teverson. The prime minister and chancellor insist the tax credit cuts will not be changed at all. We’ll see.

Added 26 October 2015
Very difficult findings for the government on the effects of its tax credit cuts from research group Policy in practice


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