MEASURING POVERTY AND WEALTH IN CORNWALL

29 September 2014

The Western Morning News has a telling article by Peter Gripaios. The title explains: Cornwall poor? It all depends how you look at the figures. It’s here, do read it.

Gripaios explains that the measurement of poverty and wealth in Cornwall used for EU funds rests on GVA (Gross value added) but as that excludes pensions and, for example, productive Cornish residents who work in Plymouth and the rest of Devon, it gives a problematic picture of poverty Cornwall. An alternative, and I think better and true-to-life, measure is that of Gross disposable household income (GDHI) which counts in unproductive pensioners resident in Cornwall and on that measure Cornwall does well; does better than much of England anyway. Gripaios draws attention to economic differences in the parts of Cornwall, some better off than others.

He also points out that Cornwall is not a natural economic area but a political construct. The economic area spills over the Tamar but not the political statistical one. He notes the numbers receiving out of work benefits and low wages.

To me all this suggests that Cornwall is not the poorest in the land and does not pay its way but depends on others’ largess. Those are both points I have made several times in the blog, along with disproof of a simplistic and fundamentally nonsensical charge of unfair funding. Cornwall is not a leading economy and there is deprivation in parts but the whole economic basis of the nationalist victim economic grievance is shot.

Note

Gross disposable household income 2012:
Cornwall £15 654 perhead, 93.2 percent of UK figure, 72 out of 139 NUTS 3 areas (where 1 is highest perhead figure)

The EU data for GDP per capita for 2011 is here.


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