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”.
12 September 2014
The other day John Pollard, the leader of Cornwall Council, talking about the funding by central government of rural and urban areas in England, said, “We currently receive less than half the money per head of population than that given to Hackney”.
Even if you think there is an urban/rural imbalance in funding and it should be righted, this is an ill-advised comparison. I’ve noted before simplistic Cornwall comparisons: see here for an MK one.
Anyway, let’s take up the challenge and compare Cornwall and Hackney over several fields.
I have chosen from the numerous fields that show how much more widespread deprivation and poverty are in Hackney than in Cornwall, aspects that should figure in the redistribution of central government funds to local authorities. Disadvantage impacts upon local government spending on services like housing, education, social care, and culture. Of course in some fields Hackney does better but the decider factors of government redistribution point to Hackney worse off than Cornwall. And of course in some fields, for example job seeker’s allowance for the unemployed, the funding is separate from that given directly to local councils. I am trying to show how Hackney suffers wide disadvantage.
I give a link to the online sources at the end of each section; note that at the source there may be other tables presenting information in various ways.
Note 4 April 2015: I have put here up-to-date data for the various items as in the post Fair funding for Cornwall of 3 April 2015
Index of multiple deprivation 2010 (next IMD due 2015)
This is a major measure of deprivation across several components such as income and housing. I have taken the rank of scores where 1 indicates the worst overall deprivation of 326 local authorities:
Hackney 2 (that is, worse than 324 of the 326 local authorities)
Free school meals
Percentage of pupils eligible for and claiming free school meals, January 2014, in state funded nursery and primary schools and secondary school
Cornwall 13.5% in nursery and primary schools, 11.9% in secondary schools
Hackney 30.2% in nursery and primary schools, 33.9% in secondary schools
Child poverty 2014
Cornwall 16.90% of children in poverty (before housing costs), 26.35 percent (after housing costs)
Hackney 27.46% of children in poverty (before housing costs), 41.37 percent (after housing costs)
Deprivation among pupils
The proportion of pupils eligible for the deprivation pupil premium 2014-2015 (provisional figures):
Cornwall primary pupils 22.5%, secondary 24.2%
Hackney primary pupils 48%, secondary 55.6 %
How many are adversely affected by the bedroom tax? These are the percentages for 9 May 2014, the latest available, of the tenants with housing benefit who have that housing benefit reduced because of the bedroom tax/spare room subsidy and the average weekly amount lost:
Cornwall 6.1%, £14.03
Hackney 8.1%, £21.07
Job seekers allowance
This is a measure of unemployment; the figures are the percentage of men and women aged 18-65 claiming job seeker’s allowance in July 2014:
Source Put in the local authority name
Why does Hackney get more than Cornwall?
Why does Hackney get more? Hmm, I wonder if it’s anything to do with the scale of derivation and poverty and disadvantage that the data in the first part of this post shows? Cornwall is not a victim, unfairly funded in general; there are administrative areas of England worse off than us and they rightly get more government help. As I have explained ages ago, we can home in on particular places of severe disadvantage in Cornwall and elsewhere in England and should certainly help them.
Per pupil funding 2014-2015
Incidentally, the per pupil funding for 2014-2015 shows that 56 England local authorities get less than Cornwall. While some are notably prosperous places, the lesser funded also include places like Plymouth, Bury, and Nottinghamshire. The details are in Appendix B here. Of course Hackney gets noticeably more per pupil than Cornwall but you can understand that now.
Let’s end on good news for some in Cornwall. The Good pub guide 2015 says the average pint of beer in London costs £3.79. In Cornwall it’s £3.19.
Don’t forget to check the original sources to see the smallprint explanations.
The details of the 2014/15 local government funding by central government (the Settlement Funding Assessment)are here. Appendix B shows that Hackney is the highest per-dwelling funded of all the London authorities; several have lower per-dwelling funding than Cornwall.
On 16 September 2014 the Centre for London publishes London’s hollow promise: how the city fails people on modest incomes and what should be done about it, its report on working households in London on low to modest incomes and the housing difficulties and cost of living they face.