Regional Pay is not Fair Pay for Cornwall

One of the current ‘good ideas’ to come out of the coalition Government is regional pay. Like the proposals for VAT on pasties, regional pay will have a very negative impact on the economy, and workforce of Cornwall.

Cornwall is already suffering from a poor average wage compared to other regions and the UK as a whole. I have always known the average wage in Cornwall was poor compared to other regions, but I am somewhat shocked how bad the difference is.

For example, the average full-time earning for residents (people who live in, but not work in Cornwall) is £21,993. This is much lower against the average wage in the South West – £24,640; England and Wales – £26,185; UK – £26,095. The other figure for full-time workplace (people who work and live in Cornwall) is: Cornwall – £21,258 and for the South West – £24,236; England and Wales – £26,166; UK – £26,079.

As you can see, Cornwall’s full-time worker and resident is very underpaid compared to the national average. Even in the South West region, Cornwall workers are paid on average £2,500 less. However, this is only full-time workers. The figures are more startling if you include part-time workers; which is a large part of Cornwall’s workforce.

The average wage for workers, both full and part-time in Cornwall is £17,201. This is a huge drop from just full-time workers and is 19% less than the average UK worker. It also represents the real wage in Cornwall. Of course, the South West, England and the UK will also see a drop if you include both full and part-time workers. For the South West, this is £19,609; England £21,650; UK £21,326.

This can also be broken down further on the Parliamentary Boundaries, and shows even within the borders of Cornwall there is a difference in what you will be paid. Looking at workplace earnings, Truro and Falmouth has the highest levels due to the density and range of jobs in Truro (health, local government, professional business services), followed by Camborne and Redruth. Higher resident earnings reflect the impact on the earnings total of those people who commute to other areas. This is most noticeable in South East Cornwall due to proximity to Plymouth, However for South East Cornwall’s pay for those living and working in those areas are seeing the worst pay-scales. These figures are:

St. Ives: Workplace – £15,626/Resident – £16,217

Camborne and Redruth: Workplace – £19,029/Resident – £18,250

North Cornwall: Workplace – £16,039/Resident – £16,700

South East Cornwall: Workplace – £13,940/Resident – £17,588

St Austell and Newquay: Workplace – £17,237/Resident – £17,170

Truro and Falmouth: Workplace – £19,611/Resident – £19,624

It is bad enough for Cornwall to be paid far less than parts of the UK, but even within the borders of Cornwall the wage-scales are vastly different. It is shocking to see these differences, and for my own area in the St. Ives constituency is the second worst-paid area. This must change, but if the Government gets its way, we could see many people being paid far less than they currently are.

If you then add house prices for Cornwall compared to other areas, it really is disheartening. For example the average house price (April 2012) for:

Cornwall – £184,311
South West – £174,261
England/Wales – £160,417

It is bad enough for Cornwall workers to be paid 19% less, but they will pay on average 13% more for a house! God help us if the stupid proposal for regional pay is brought in.