A NATIONALIST MYTH DIES

1 May 2008

There’s a report in yesterday’s Times which will disconcert those among Cornish nationalists – and apparently some Liberal Democrats in Cornwall – who seem to believe that London is a pampered place, showered with largess from government, and with streets paved with gold.

Read it here.

It reminds us that there are 650 000 children living in poverty in London; that’s forty one percent of all children in the capital. In 1998 it was forty two percent. There has been only the most miserable progress. The inner London percentage figures are higher.

The article also reminds us that the national minimum wage is inadequate in London, something I explored here last July.

A competition in poverty, where has most, is unconstructive, but I think it is important to remind those in Cornish politics who cry up the material wealth of London, and use it to present Cornwall as victimised, of the simple and depressing facts of the whole picture of the capital. London is a tale of two cities. The facts of poverty and deprivation in London are readily available to everyone who wishes to know; there is no excuse at all for ignorance. Start here.

Incidentally, there are four wards in Westminster, where parliament is and MPs go, with more than half the children living in workless households.

To get a comprehensive view of deprivation and child poverty have a look at the figures on the numbers of children (aged 0-15) who live in households receiving workless benefits. They are from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation and the government and are here the relevant file is called Local poverty data. They include the figures for Cornwall, the county and its districts.

And here are the figures for the latest indices of multiple deprivation published 2007 – my references to these in previous posts were based on the 2004 indices, then the latest ones available. These include figures for the 32 482 subwards of England (there are 327 in Cornwall) and really pinpoint the location of deprivation, the northwest of England being particularly hard hit: look where the Cornwall subwards are in the table and the range of their deprivation rank scores. For Cornwall they show us clearly where our collective efforts should be.

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“It’s a rich city but it has 650 000 poor children. It’s London.” Times 30 April 2008

I put some figures for the Cornwall constituencies here.

ONS: the Office for National Statistics

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