25 September 2010

The Labour party has issued a breakdown of the first preference votes for the five leadership candidates by individual members of each constituency party. See here for details.

Aggregating the first preference results for all six Cornwall Labour parties the vote is:

Diane Abbott 38 votes
Ed Balls 88 votes
Andy Burnham 41 votes
David Miliband 231 votes
Ed Miliband 196 votes.

The Cornwall turnout averaged 75 percent. St Ives had the fourth highest turnout of all the British constituency parties. David Miliband had a plurality of first votes in every Cornwall constituency and Ed Miliband was second in the first votes in every Cornwall constituency.

A side fact from the results is that a total of 793 ballot papers were issued by Cornwall constituency parties. That presumably represents the total membership of the six parties. (There were three spoilt ballot papers.)



17 September 2010

Amendment 132 of 16 September to the votes bill in the name of Harriet Harman (acting leader of the Labour party) and leading Labour MPs Jack Straw and Peter Hain says that Cornwall and Scillies should be allocated whole number of constituencies, ie only constituencies wholly in Cornwall and Scillies and not overspilling into Devon (they seek to apply the ‘whole number’ rule to the isles of Wight and Anglesey too).

Amendment 137 of 16 September from Sheryll Murray, Conservative MP for South east Cornwall, says that our constituencies should be “wholly in Cornwall”: at same link as above.

That’s three amendments (from George, Harman, and Murray) trying to keep entirely-in-Cornwall constituencies. Will the Tory Libdem government listen?

Amendments to 12 October 2010 are here and for 13 October 2010 here.

Related posts
Will Cornwall spill over? 7 July 2010
Boundaries 9 September 2010
Boundaries 2 15 September 2010
Boundaries 4 11 October 2010
Boundaries 5 24 November 2010


Labour planned to extend free school meals in September 2010 to pupils from low-income working families as I explained in my June 2010 post Failing the Aristotle test. Details of the Labour plans are in paragraph 5.31 here. The Tory Libdem government has blocked the extension; pupils currently eligible will continue to get free school meals.

At present 8168 pupils in secondary, primary, and nursery schools in Cornwall are eligible for free school meals (January 2010 figures).

Now we know the numbers of pupils in Cornwall (and the rest of England) that Labour’s extension would have covered.

A parliamentary answer (Hansard 27 July 2010 column 1215W) reveals that this September there would have been a further 4400 pupils in Cornwall eligible for free school meals; and in September 2011, when every pupil from a low-income working household would have been eligible for free school meals, the Labour extension would have raised the total number of Cornwall pupils eligible to 9700. Those figures are in addition to those presently eligible.

It would have been a substantial increase in the number of eligible pupils, a major move forward which would have helped reduce the poverty and deprivation some children and families in Cornwall face – and nourished children work better at school; it would have helped to cushion the very desirable transfer into work of some adults here. The Tories and Lidems have stopped it, snatching the help away, depriving the deprived. They are punishing schoolchildren for the sins of bankers and politicians. They should think again and restore Labour’s civilised plans.

Low-income was defined in Labour’s plans as income below £16 190 a year, about £311 a week. This is around the 25th percentile of wages in Cornwall as a whole, that is, about a quarter of all fulltime Cornwall workers are paid less than this (ASHE 2009).

Labour’s phased scheme gave free school meals to half the additionally eligible in September 2010 and to all the additionally eligible in September 2011.

As well as three running pilots which will continue, Labour also planned to extend the pilots to five other areas to test the value of universal free school meals and these additional pilots have been dropped too.

An informed comment from Child Poverty Action on the abandonment of the free school meals extension is here.



12 April 2010

This follows on from two previous posts: What’s Labour ever done for Cornwall? and Furthermore….

The King’s Fund, an independent charity, has just published an authoritative assessment of changes in the NHS in England during the Labour’s government: A high-performing NHS? A review of progress 1997-2010 .

It is a chiaroscuro story, a “mix of achievements and disappointments,” and chapter 9 (pages 113-115) of the review sums up well. The review candidly explains where progress has been inadequate – for example, in access to GPs out of hours, fully open reporting of patient safety incidents, reducing unequal access, and reducing inequalities between the deprived and others, inequalities which the government itself has described as “stubborn and persistent”. Harmful alcohol consumption has worsened and the incidence of obesity has worsened. There are looming funding challenges. There is still much work to do. However, the review details the significant progress over many spheres from 1997 when, after years of Conservative indifference, the NHS was a poorly funded and poorly performing system.

Our experience of the NHS in Cornwall is also mixed and in other posts on the blog I discuss some the disappointments. However, it is important to recognise the many achievements in the NHS and here I highlight some of the achievements set out by the King’s Fund review.

Improved hospital waiting times
Since 1997 waiting times for most hospital treatments have seen “major and sustained reductions”

Improved mortality
Since 1997 mortality from cancer and cardiovascular disease has dropped “substantially” and the number of strokes has fallen

MRSA and Clostridium difficile
The campaign to reduce the rates of these infections has been “successful”

Mental health
Access to early intervention mental health services and to acute crisis teams has improved and is now “one of the best” in Europe

There have been “substantial savings” in the cost of medicines

Improved regulation
Independent regulators have been established to inspect and assure the quality of healthcare

Primary care
There have been improvements in the number and variety of primary care services

Numbers and pay
There have been substantial increases in the numbers and pay of doctors, nurses, consultants, and others

Patients have a choice of hospital for non-urgent treatment

“Since 1997 there has been considerable progress in moving the NHS towards being a high-performance system”

I have shown in the previous post that spending on the NHS has substantially increased since 1997.

“stubborn and persistent” inequalities: Tackling health inequalities: 10 years on, Department of health, May 2009



10 April 2010

This follows on from the post charting Labour’s good works for Cornwall, What’s Labour ever done for Cornwall?

See also the successor postThere’s more

People in Cornwall have also benefited from these Labour achievements for Britain

Human Rights Act

Freedom of Information Act

44 000 more NHS doctors than in 1997

89 000 more NHS nurses than in 1997

17 000 more police than in 1997

Help with child care through the working tax credit (for example, up to £140 a week for one child)

NHS net expenditure in England rose nominally from £34.7 billion in 1997/98 to a planned £102.7 billion in 2009/10 (Table 2 in House of Commons Library SN/SG/724 of 2 June 2009)

Every full time worker now has a statutory 28 days paid holiday (pro rata for part-time workers)

A part-time worker in relation to a comparable fulltime worker now has the right to the same pay rates; they also have equal access to pension schemes, and the same rights to sick pay and to statutory maternity leave and pay


In the next weeks we shall hear many promises about what parties will do if put in power. In this post I look not at promises about tomorrow but at what Labour has actually done that has helped people in Cornwall since 1997.

I explained in an earlier post of 2008 why I think Labour in Cornwall is probably done for at present, 2009 was worse, and I think there will be more chastening results for the party here next month though hope flickers for it in the Camborne and Redruth constituency. Before all is lost in a sour miasma of forgetfulness contrived by the other parties, let me set down the Labour record for Cornwall, some of the main things that Labour has done to make life better for people here since May 1997 – and there are additionally technological and ecological developments like the wave hub.

The list of Labour achievements does not tell the whole story of course; there have been grim failures and Labour has been too relaxed about people getting ‘filthy rich’. However, Labour’s achievements are not mere political barebones. They are what has made life better, much better, for many people in Cornwall. They matter. Amid the very many disappointments and indeed anger about the Labour government, these are the stars.

The economic crisis is making life much more difficult, everything is not glowing, and elections are about the future rather than the past, about which party we think will get us through the next turn, handle the deficit best and have the best timing and balance of spending cuts and tax rises. These achievements nevertheless show what progressives have achieved and what they can build on.


Mandatory national minimum wage introduced and increased more than inflation

Maternity pay increased more than inflation

Paid maternity leave more than doubled

Sure Start

Child tax credit

Child trust funds introduced

Free nursery places for 3 and 4 year olds

Increased funding for education

Old age pensions increased more than inflation

Number of qualifying years needed for a full basic state pension reduced

Winter fuel payment, now benefiting more than 130 000 people in Cornwall

Free bus passes for people aged 60 and over

Free eye tests for people aged 60 and over

Increased funding for the NHS

Reduced waiting times for NHS treatment

Section 28 scrapped

Civil partnerships

Enhanced equality rules introduced

Large inroads made into child and pensioner poverty


RPI inflation
May 1997 index 156.3; February 2010 index 219.2; inflation of 40 percent.

Minimum wage
The minimum wage, whose importance to many people here is inestimable, is £5.93 an hour (full adult rate) from October 2010. When it began in April 1999 it was £3.60. After this October’s uprating that will be an increase in real terms of about 22 percent, that is after taking inflation into account. Two thirds of UK recipients are women.

Cornwall pay
In 1997 the median pay of fulltime workers was £250 a week, in 2010 it was £402.50 a week (by place of work in Cornwall), an above-inflation nominal increase of 61 percent and a larger percentage increase than for England as a whole (ASHE annual tables 7.1a).

Maternity pay
In 1997 statutory maternity pay was £55.70 a week; in 2009 it was £123.06 a week, an above-inflation nominal increase of 121 percent.

Paid maternity leave
Paid maternity leave was 18 weeks in 1997 and is now 39 weeks.

The basic old age pension in 1997/98 was £62.45 for a single person and £99.80 for a couple. It is now £97.65 for a single person and £156.15 for a couple. Those are both increases of about 12 percent in real terms. (The pension credit, formerly minimum guaranteed income, is now £132.60 a week for a single person and £202.40 for a couple.) About 900 000 pensioners have been taken out of relative poverty since 1997.
From April 2010 the number of National Insurance qualifying years for a full basic state pension is reduced to 30 years for both men and women; formerly 44 and 39 years.

Hansard 27 February 2008 columns 1754W-1756W gives the reductions in NHS waiting times for Cornwall, 1997-2007.

Since 1997 there has been a 38 percent real-terms increase in perpupil funding in Cornwall (Hansard 2 February 2010 column 70)
Teachers average pay in Cornwall has risen by 59 percent since 1997 (DCSF)
Number of full-time equivalent teachers in Cornwall has increased by 13 percent since 1997 (Hansard 4 February 2010 column 474W).

Some other posts
Labour helps Cornwall (local government finance)

Labour’s education record

Vote Tory today, cry tomorrow

Labour helps 130 000 in cold Cornwall


28 February 2010

Spoof Tory posters

And more spoof Tory posters here based on their death tax piffle; and here on the theme of I’ve never voted Tory before but…

And now spoof Labour posters

The mirror crack’d: Alfred Tennyson The lady of Shalott