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.


12 October 2015

The Office for national statistics (ONS) has today published data showing that last year there were about 53 000 jobs in Cornwall paying less than the then living wage hourly rate of £7.65 for those aged twenty one and over. This represented 31.6 percent of all Cornwall jobs.

Of the 293 local authorities in England outside London, Cornwall is at 250 where 1 is best (lowest proportion) and 293 is worst (highest proportion).

The voluntary living wage, set by the Living Wage Foundation, is higher than the mandatory minimum wage and George Osborne’s recently announced and misleadingly called national living wage.

Five of the thirty three local authorities in London, where in April 2014 the living wage set by the Mayor of London, was £8.80 an hour, had a higher proportion of jobs below the wage than Cornwall.

The estimates of percentages are based on the 2014 provisional ASHE data.

The data shows that poor wages are a lively issue in Cornwall. They underlie many other difficulties for many here, including poverty and housing and choices in everyday living. Cornwall Council and town and parish councils should scrutinise their spending to ensure their poor get a very fair share and none is wasted on frivolous projects.

I should like to see the parties in Cornwall responding positively to the issues raised in this post and in my post of the other day Deprivation in Cornwall 2015 and to the risks of increasing poverty for children that I discussed in the post Assaulting poverty or the poor – that is, responding to the issues (not to me) with specific and material ideas for at least mitigation of distress. Let’s hear the clarion from Labour, Liberal Democrats, Mebyon Kernow, and the Greens here in Cornwall, and, yes, the Conservatives and UKIP here too.

ASHE: Annual survey of hours and earnings (ONS)

The ONS explains that the jobs are for employees aged eighteen and over paid at adult rates of pay; the coefficient of variation (cv) shows that the Cornwall figures are “precise”.

The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) has just published the latest measures of deprivation for small areas in England with an average population of around 1500. These areas are called lower-layer super output areas (LSOAS) and the deprivation measures are called the indices of multiple deprivation (IMD).

There are 32 844 LSOAS in England now.

The IMD is made up of various components of deprivation such as income and employment and housing and an aggregate figure, the IMD. You can see the IMD 2015 here. It is largely based on data from 2012/13 and is an update of the 2010 IMD.

The House of Commons Library has very usefully recast the 2015 IMD data for LSOAS into data for each of the 533 parliamentary constituencies in England. Click here for the detailed Constituency data table and an explanatory note Deprivation in English constituencies 2015.

The Library data includes much more and especially a comparison with the 2010 data showing improvement or deterioration in each constituency relative to the others. Rank 1 is most deprived, rank 533 is least deprived.

I put here the data for the six Cornwall constituencies

Constituency: 2015 rank/2010 rank

Camborne and Redruth 141/153

St Ives 179/188

St Austell and Newquay 184/214

North Cornwall 197/226

South East Cornwall 242/285

Truro and Falmouth 284/277

Only Truro and Falmouth has improved its relative position in 2015 against 2010.

The data shows that around at least a quarter of the England constituencies have more relative deprivation than the Cornwall ones; more than half are worse than Truro and Falmouth.

Cornwall is various

Of course different parts of a constituency experience different levels of deprivation: the DCLG site provides data for each LSOA which shows the clusters of deprivation inside a constituency. In Cornwall those clusters show ranges from a rank of 414 to 26457 (where 1 is most deprived and 32 844 is least deprived). That range is vast and brings me again to the point I have made often: Cornwall is various; we should focus with effect on those parts of Cornwall where people experience serious deprivation.


9 April 2015

The Tory Libdem coalition has been a nasty government. It has hit the poor and vulnerable, savaged public goods like funds for affordable housing, and used austerity as an opportunity to undermine the state and the collective endeavour for the good of the many that the state enables. The Tories and Libdems are marketising the health service and comforting the rich. For five years they have stretched out their coalition hand and visited us with a darkness that can be felt.

Here are some very recent examples of their government:

Forty percent of new teachers quit within a year Guardian 31 March 2015

NHS damaged Guardian 7 April 2015
Doctors say “this administration’s record is characterised by broken promises, reductions in necessary funding, and destructive legislation, which leaves health services weaker, more fragmented, and less able to perform their vital role than at any time in the NHS’s history”.

Tory Libdem benefit sanctions policy has led to food banks Guardian 9 April 2015

Children coming to school hungry Guardian 5 April 2015

NHS hospital waiting time figures worst in seven years Guardian 9 April 2015

Trussell Trust: written evidence to Works and pensions select committee with examples of job centre ‘sanctioning’ 12 December 2014. Evidence to the committee from others is here.

And this too:
Schools forced to act as ‘miniature welfare states’ with teachers buying underwear and even haircuts for poor pupils Independent 1 May 2015

Darkness that can be felt: Exodus 10.21

UPDATE 18 January 2015 The Centre for responsible credit has published a report on the dire fall in welfare assistance since the localisation of the scheme. The report Where now for local welfare schemes? is here:scroll down to the pdf download.

ORIGINAL POST 24 December 2014
The coalition Tory/Libdem government celebrates Christmas by dumping central government support for the most vulnerable

It’s the season of goodwill so here is a seasonable tale.

I wrote earlier about the localisation of a welfare safety net, what in Cornwall is now called the crisis and care awards and is generally known as local welfare provision or assistance. It is to help people who are desperate and vulnerable and in a crisis, a truly important safety net.

Initially central government ran it but in April 2013 handed over separate and identifiable funds for it to local councils to develop their own schemes. The funding was not ring fenced. Cornwall Council received £985 074 in 2013/14 and 2014/15 from the government for its local scheme (plus administration funds).

Earlier this year the Tory/Libdem government announced it was ceasing from April 2015 to fund the local schemes with separate and specific funds. This led to a legal challenge and then a further consultation.

The upshot of all this is set out in the recently proposed local government settlement: central government will no longer provide separate and identified, but not ringed fenced, funding for local welfare assistance schemes which are in addition to general revenue funds. The funds for these schemes will now have to come from a council’s general revenue grants from central government, that is be funded from within a council’s existing budget.

As a sop to critics, the government is indicating the amount of general funds that could appropriately be spent by a council on its local welfare provision scheme but spending all or any of it on such a scheme is not mandatory; indeed, some councils have abandoned their schemes.

The government’s new proposed arrangements are set out in 2.2 here.

So there you have it, a Tory/Libdem tale for the season of goodwill.

I hope that Cornwall Council will ensure its scheme continues and is fully funded. I think the council is looking for new ways of delivering it but its continuance at its present level at least is very important. It helps those in genuine need.

Cornwall Council statement of 18 December 2014 on the proposed local government finance settlement included this: “We also welcome the fact that the Government has decided to retain the local welfare provision grant which means we will receive £885,000 (a reduction of £250,000 on last year’s grant) to help support vulnerable people in Cornwall this year.” This puzzles me. It seems to me to be an interesting interpretation of what the government funding proposals are for local welfare provision.

The Tory/Libdem government announcement December 2014 included this explanation: “Local authorities will continue to be able to offer local welfare assistance from within existing budgets, alongside a range of other services in 2015 – 16 if they judge it a priority in their area. It would be helpful to many areas to see how much of their existing funding relates to this. An amount relating to local welfare provision has been separately identified in each upper-tier authority’s general grant, totally £129.6 million nationally.“

In November 2014 the government had said this of its proposals for local welfare assistance schemes : “from April 2015, it was intended that this would be funded from general grant to Local Government, instead of an identifiable sum being made available specifically for this purpose as before (albeit on a non-ringfenced basis).”

See also Guardian 18 December 2014, an article of the ending of central government funding.


7 December 2014

Any words from me would be … but compare and contrast

House of Lords insists on its expensive subsidised champagne
Observer 7 December 2014

Archbishop of Canterbury excoriates poverty and hunger in Britain
Mail on Sunday 7 December 2014


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.