It will be of no surprise that the average wage in Cornwall is much less than the national average. Figures recently released* show the reality of how far behind Cornwall is against the national average. Taking the average wage in Cornwall in isolation on its own is bad enough, but if you add in the average house price and /or the average rent and then add in the other costs of living, it paints a bleak picture for Cornwall.

The latest earnings figures from the Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings show that the average annual workplace gross earnings of an employee in Cornwall were £17,344 in 2014, up by only 0.1%. If you expressed this as a percentage of the UK average, this represents 79% of that average. Compared to other Unitaries, Counties and London Boroughs in the UK, Cornwall ranked 196th out of 200. This is depressing.

The annual earnings in Cornwall split into gender is:

  • Earnings for males averaged £21,085, 78% of the UK average.  Up by 3.8% on 2013.
  • Earnings for females averaged £14,102, 82% of the UK average.  Down by 0.4% on 2013.
  • Full-time workers averaged £22,012, 81% of the UK total, part-time workers £8,633, 96% of the UK total.

The weekly and hourly wage in Cornwall:

  • Average weekly earnings totalled £320.9, 77% of the UK average, full-time £425.7 and part-time £150.4.
  • Average hourly earnings totalled £9.11, 79% of the UK average.

The data for Cornwall is available at the Parliamentary Constituency level. Here, Truro and Falmouth had the highest annual workplace earnings at £19,165 with South East Cornwall the lowest £15,304. Resident annual earnings equalled £18,354, 83% of the UK average. Lowest earnings were in St. Ives at £16,663 (76%) and highest in South East Cornwall at £20,812 (94%). The reason for the residential annual earning are different  because this included those people  who commute out of the Duchy. This is particularly the case in South East Cornwall.

Average Wage by Parliamentary Constituency

Average Wage by Parliamentary Constituency

The work place earning for the Parliamentary Constituencies are:

Cornwall: £17, 344 – 0.9%

  • Camborne and Redruth: £18,089 – 0.8% change from 2013
  • North Cornwall: £18,093 – 0.1% change from 2013
  • South East Cornwall: £15,304 – 6.6 change from 2013
  • St Austell and Newquay: £15,458 – minus 13.1 change from 2013
  • St Ives: £16,359 – 1.1% change from 2013
  • Truro and Falmouth: £19,165 – 6.6% change from 2013

United Kingdom: £22,0440.9% change from 2013; England: £22,343 – 0.8 % change from 2013

The Place of Resident earning are:

Cornwall: £18,354 – 0.4% change from 2013

  • Camborne and Redruth: £18,018 - minus 0.6 change from 2013
  • North Cornwall: £20,003 – 13.9% change from 2013
  • South East Cornwall: £20,812 – 7.4 change from 2013
  • St Austell and Newquay: £17,386  – minus 6.8% change from 2013
  • St Ives: £16,663 – 1.2% change from 2013
  • Truro and Falmouth: £20,163 – 4.5% change from 2013

United Kingdom: £22,044 – 0.9% change from 2013; England£22,343 – 0.8 change from 2013

It is no surprise the further West you go in Cornwall there is not a great deal of difference between the work place earnings and the place of resident earnings. However, In the East, there is a difference because people have the opportunity of working out of Cornwall like in Devon. Though, the wages in the East are clearly the lowest in the whole of Cornwall if you take the work place earnings in isolation.

Because of the scale of the difference between the national average and Cornwall, there will have to be a fundamental change on how people are paid in Cornwall. The Living Wage is one solution, but this could place pressure on small businesses who might take on less staff to off-set the extra costs of the Living Wage. Or prices of goods and services will have to increase to cover the costs of the Living Wage. Sadly, there is no simple solution, but one must still be found.

 

 

*Source: Office for National Statistics, Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings, 2014 Provisional Results, 19 November 2014 [All figures are gross and give the median figure not the mean as the former is deemed to more accurately represent the average earnings in an area]. Thanks also to the Community Intelligence Team at Cornwall Council

 

                             

And there it is, after many years of work, discussion, argument and counter argument, the elected Members of Cornwall Council voted in favour to support the submission of the Strategic Policies element of the Local Plan to the Secretary of State. These policies are an important first part of the Local Plan and gives the flexibility that encourages Neighbourhood Plans- an important part of localism.

The actual vote was 76 in favour, 19 against, with five Councillors abstaining. 23 Councillors were missing from the vote.

In this plan, the Council will be able to demonstrate a five-year land supply. This is very important as inspectors are giving limited weight to a plan and with no agreed five-year land supply. This leaves the Council vulnerable to planning appeals, and the Council cannot remain vulnerable to planning by appeal. Developers know this, and can overturn a Council decision by mounting a strong appeal using expensive experts to put across their cases. Furthermore, without a Local Plan the Council is heavily reliant on old saved policies that have to be compliant with the National Planning Policy Framework to be applicable. In the case of the former Kerrier area, where there are no saved policies, there is sole reliance on the NPPF.

The number of housing has been the biggest single issue in formulating the Local Plan. The Planning Minister and guidance (ie the Government) in the NPPF, have said it is up to Council to set their own housing targets evidence, however, the Government have made is crystal clear the housing number target has to be based on sound evidence. This evidence comes from the projections from the Office of National Statistics in the Strategic Housing Market Need Assessment. The SHMNA has then moderated these downwards to appropriately reflect the downward trend in household formation and the 2011 census.

This evidence in the Council’s submission says 47,500 can be supported, and importantly gives the much-needed five-year land supply.  As I said before, this is important in any submission, especially if you want your plan approved. Using figures from April 2014, shows that Cornwall already have about 29,000 (28,762) commitments, including around 10,000 (8,754) that have already been built since 2010. This leaves a balance of 18,500 (18,738) more to find over the next 15 years

I am glad the plan has now been approved because having no plan would be a disaster for Cornwall and would leave Cornwall at the mercy of developers. This plan will wrestle back control of development from developers and put it back in the hands of a community through Neighbourhood Plans.

 

Today, the chef inspector of Ofsted, Sir Michael Wilshaw, released Ofsted’s annual education report. In that report Sir Michael says secondary schools have “stalled delivering.” The media is concentrating on the negative aspects of the report, however, we should also focus on the educational establishments successes. This is often missed.

Whilst I do not think there is a head teacher, teacher, TA or school governor who does not say we can always look to improve, the majority of schools do deliver a very good level of education. This should be recognised, and we must celebrate success too. As it is unfair just to highlight (and rightly so) on those educational settings which are not delivering.

Cornwall is above the national average for the number of schools which are either good or outstanding. For primary and nursery school settings, this is 85% of 238 settings currently judged as “good or outstanding” by Ofsted ( with only 2 of the 238 primary schools judged to be inadequate ).

Of the 32 secondary schools in Cornwall 77% are currently judged as “good or outstanding” by Ofsted. The other schools are classified as Requires Improvement. It is important to note there are no secondary schools judged to be inadequate in Cornwall.

Furthermore, the percentage of pupils attending good or outstanding secondary schools has risen to 84%. Again this should be celebrated.

Special school performance is also positive overall, with three of the four special schools being judged as good or better.

The Council works closely with headteachers and governors at all schools to ensure that children in Cornwall are provided with the best possible quality of education. It is good to see that more than 80% of children in Cornwall are attending good or outstanding schools and I would like to thank governors, headteachers, staff, parents and carers for their hard work and commitment. Parents and carers play a very important part in a child’s education. As without this parental support, many children will not reach their full potential.

There is no room for complacency and we must always strive to do better. This is why at the end of 2013 Cornwall Council formally launched the Raising Aspirations and Achievement Strategy (RAAS). This strategy is which is aimed at ensuring all children and young people in Cornwall are given the best possible start in life. This means providing access to the highest quality education opportunities and raising the aspirations of both the young people and their families to encourage them to achieve beyond their expected potential.

This new Strategy is already helping to raise standards and we are continuing to work with schools to ensure that we build on this improvement over the coming months.

So let’s celebrate the good work that is being currently delivered by the educational settings in Cornwall. However, we should not be complacent and always look at how we can improve.

Let’s just remind people that out of 272 schools in Cornwall, two are judged inadequate. (Though for me, two is still too many). However, the majority of those 272 settings are good or outstanding. Well done.

Porthleven Community Interest Company was one of 20 projects nationally to be awarded funding from the Government’s Coastal Community Fund. The total amount awarded to the CIC was just short of £100,000. The funding was to be used for a series of projects which included: up-lighting the Bickford-Smith Institute, a new car park, a town trail, website and marquees for both community and commercial use.

The money raised from the car park and marquee revenue will be then used for further community projects. This means Porthleven will have a sustainable income for community projects. It is also hoped in the long term the CIC will be able to help young people from Porthleven with start-up grants.

A further aim of the CIC projects will help to create jobs in Porthleven both directly and indirectly. Porthleven has a great reputation for food, the natural environment, and culture. This draws visitors locally, nationally and internationally. They are drawn to the uniqueness of Porthleven, its harbour and its beautiful surroundings.

The CIC has five directors: David Turnbull, Louise Winterton, Mark Berryman, Damelza Storbeck and me.

The CIC has now completed one of its planned projects. This is up-lighting the Bickford-Smith Institute. This iconic building is hidden in the dark and this is a shame. However, this building can be seen in all its glory at night with the CIC funding the up-lighting.

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This project was completed in partnership with the Porthleven Light Committee. the Chairman of the Lights Committee said “It has been a long term aim of the lights committee to see the most iconic building in Porthleven up-lighted. It has been a pleasure to work with the CIC to achieve this aim.” I concur with Roger’s words and I am very glad to see this iconic building up-lighted.

As for the other projects, the plan for the car park is to have it open in the first two weeks of April and the marquees will ordered before the end of the year and ready for use early 2015. The other projects will be completed by summer 2015.

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Let me start of by welcoming Councillor Joyce Duffin to the Cornwall Council Cabinet. I have worked with Joyce for many years and she will be a great asset to the Cabinet.

With a new member to the Cabinet, the Leader has looked at all the current responsibilities of the Cabinet in a sort of two year review. This is wise, as things do change at the Council and the Cabinet needs to respond to this ever changing world.

In this review, there have been a few changes to portfolios. This is not a reflection of the abilities of the Portfolio Holders as the review looked at how the portfolios fit into the new corporate director structures. This is to make sure responsibilities between portfolios and corporate directors are more in line with the new Council structures.

So who is responsible for what? I remain with Children’s Services role, which I am really pleased with. Here other changes are:

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Last Friday saw a group of young people hold their takeover day at Cornwall Council. It was great to see so many young people at the Council raising their profile.

During the day, the young people were on hand to answer any question Councillors and Officers had, but more importantly, to ask questions too. The young people also showed a selection of films about young people.

There was a session where the young people could ask senior officers from the Council and Health. I was there too in my capacity as Lead Member for Children and Young People.

The question raised by the young people where on such subjects as do the Council have young people as a priority, CAHMS, Children in Care and Youth Services. It was great to hear and be subjected to a series of questions. Hopefully, those on the panel were able to answer all the questions to the satisfaction of the young people.

However, there was some concern from the young people on why there was so few Councillors in attendance. The young people also wanted to raise their profile with Councillors and will be looking to contact them in the future.

It was a great day and look forward to the event next year.

Today, Councillors of Cornwall Council set a four-year budget. It is a difficult budget and no-one would like to have to set this budget. This budget will result in reductions of services and job losses. However, were the Council can, we have protected services to the most vulnerable and highways.  I like many other people in local government never got into this game to have to do these horrible cuts.

Since the formation of Cornwall Council, the Council has had endless budget reductions. Of course, the Council cannot just blame someone else. It had to look at itself to make sure services are as streamlined as possible. I believe the Council has done this. You only got to look at the number of staff reductions and service harmonisation to realise the Council has (and continues) to make sure services are delivered in the best possible way. However, even with the Council examining itself, these latest reductions are firmly due to the draconian cuts to funding imposed by the Government.

During the six-hour debate with four amendments to the budget, Councillors gave their views on the merits of the budget and how their political party knows best. Once you take out the political posturing, Members raised the point why the cuts have had to happen. I also do not believe utopia will be found post the General Election in 2015. It has been made clear by various political parties there will not be a sudden rush of ‘new’ money post this election. From my experience, it is never new money, it is recycled money and something somewhere else has to stop to pay for the ‘new’ money.

The Cabinet and now today the Council have set a budget that will hopefully give some stability to deliver the services people require. This budget will not be easy to deliver, and it will be down to the dedication of the staff to deliver. They will be asked to deliver this budget with fewer resources.  I wish we did not have to set a budget like this, but there is little choice. As you cannot lose one-third of your budget and still be able to deliver the same level of service. The delivery of service is made more difficult because they is also an increased demand on those services.

At the end of the emotive debate, Councillors voted in favour of the budget by 69 for, 21 against and 19 abstention.