STREETS PAVED WITH GOLD

28 November 2014


Time for a reminder that London and the southeast, those replete ogres and fatcat monsters of Cornish political nationalist and piranist fantasy, are not of a piece. There is poverty and deprivation there too.

First, here is a recent report on a London from the Centre for London telling a story that many in Cornwall appear not to know about: Hollow promise: how London fails people on modest incomes and what should be done about it (September 2014). And there’s London’s poverty profile 2013 another account of poverty in the golden streets.

Second, here are a couple of reports on poverty in Kent in the southeast:

Huge numbers of Kent children living in poverty

The hidden problem of poverty in Kent

I mentioned recently the comparison made by John Pollard, the leader of Cornwall Council, of rural Cornwall with pampered urban Hackney in London and showed how deprived many people, adults and children, in Hackney were. Last year in the post Mirror, mirror, on the wall, where’s the poorest of us all I pointed out that it is part of a ward in Essex that is the poorest of us all.

The UK government has cut its funds to Cornwall Council (and other councils) and the Council has in turn had to cut its spending on most services. I think we are seeing a fundamental rejigging of local government in England that is spasmodic, unplanned, and undiscussed. Anyway, Newcastle council has compared the cuts 2010/11-2013/14 for each council in England. You can access the data here; and it also gives the 2010 rankings for the Index of multiple deprivation (IMD) of each local authority.

Note that Cornwall has had cash cuts of £95.16 per person during 2010/11-1014/15. That puts Cornwall at 120 out of 324 local authorities (where 1 is worst). As I have written so many times, Cornwall is not uniquely deprived and poor; there are many places in England (and the rest of the UK) that experience more deprivation; and Cornwall is not singled out for unfair funding.

Back to the Pollard comparison: let me point out that the Newcastle data shows that Hackney had a cut of £337.91 per person, that is the largest cash cut of the 324.

Yes, there is great wealth for some people in parts of London and the southeast; there is also great poverty. The Cornwall county flag may be black and white but life seldom is.


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