Deprivation in Cornwall – an ongoing problem?

Nearly 20 neighbourhoods in Cornwall are among the 10 percent most deprived in England, according to latest figures.

The most recent Index of Multiple Deprivation ranks the county as the second poorest region in the whole of northern Europe.

The index is the official measure of relative deprivation for small areas or neighbourhoods in England.

Seventeen neighbourhoods in Cornwall are now among the 10% most deprived in the country, up from eight in 2010.

For more:

Questions about what constitutes deprivation and what are the main causes will always be matters for debate and discussion.

What impact has austerity had on deprivation? Has the input of funds from the EU and Westminster had an impact on deprivation?

What has not been discussed is whether we can ever resolve problems such as deprivation while we continue to play catch up as the population continually expands?


Cornwall – Bring us your huddled masses: housing target rises yet again

From Cornwall – a developers’ paradise?

So the Government has come up with yet another cunning plan to encourage more housebuilding. Communities Minister Sajid Javid is consulting on a new, simpler method of calculating housing targets to be applied across the board for housing targets to ensure that the ‘right homes [sic]’ get built in the ‘right places’. Bizarrely, in the newspeak that the political class is so keen on, this new centralised system of imposing housing targets will ‘give local communities greater control’.

In reality of course, as well as doing nothing of the kind, it also won’t result in the ‘right homes’ in the ‘right places’. This is because the Tories are still trapped by their ideological obsession with private market delivery. They cherish the delusion that their developer chums and their mates in the construction companies will ‘solve’ the housing crisis once and for all. If only they build enough new houses prices will plummet and everyone will then miraculously be able to afford a home.

The imposition of local targets, carefully calibrated for every local authority, implies that the Government thinks there are lots of tiny housing markets scattered across the land that respond solely to local supply and demand. The consultation document is backed up with technical reports that are in turn littered with questionable counter-factual data based on unproven assumptions. One such is the assertion that increasing housing stock by X% will then produce a X% price fall. If that were the case then Cornwall, which has seen a huge increase in its housing stock, at a faster rate than virtually all English counties since the 1960s, should have rock-bottom house prices.

More houses (than needed) in Cornwall

Last week we announced the outline of the Governments new housing target proposals and the methodology used to justify them. What does it all mean for Cornwall?

The current iteration of the ‘Local Plan’ has a target of 52,500 houses in Cornwall. As we and others have pointed out in the past, these figures are way above what is actually required for Cornwall.

The new proposals identify that affordability is a problem in Cornwall without recognising the causes and consequently suggest that the housing target be increased by 10%. Thats another 264 houses a year or 2,640 over ten years or 5,280 over twenty years. Thats a lot of extra houses taking the total up to 57,780!

Will extra houses make housing in Cornwall more affordable? No.

As we have pointed out before house prices in Cornwall are pushed up way above what the resident population could afford by demand for second homes; holiday lets and people moving to Cornwall ‘to get away from it all’.

Population growth in Cornwall is due to in-migration not natural growth. Cornwall is catering for ‘demand’ generated elsewhere!

Was the figure of 73,000 we used last week incorrect? The new methodology might suggest that it was an over-estimate but pressure (developers, the leisure sector, growth at all costs fanatics), is there to push the target upwards.

Millennials and housing – interesting data but incorrect analysis and policy prescriptions!

A new report by the Resolution Foundation points out that younger people are finding it costly to rent and difficult to purchase a home.

Millennials are spending three times more of their income on housing than their grandparents yet are often living in worse accommodation, says a study launched by former Conservative minister David Willetts that warns of a “housing catastrophe”.
The generation currently aged 18-36 are typically spending over a third of their post-tax income on rent or about 12% on mortgages, compared with 5%-10% of income spent by their grandparents in the 1960s and 1970s. Despite spending more, young people today are more likely to live in overcrowded and smaller spaces, and face longer journeys to work – commuting for the equivalent of three days a year more than their parents.

By highlighting intergenerational inequality, Willetts hopes to break down public opposition to mass housebuilding – not least from parents who despair at the difficulty their children face in finding good housing. He is arguing for a new towns programme in which the government buys land that does not have planning consent to create large new communities of homes for sale.

The RF is quite good at identifying certain trends in data yet fundamentally wrong in its analysis of cause and effect and policy prescriptions.

What the report, in common with many others, fails to do is to actually look at the real issues. What the report identifies quite correctly is that younger age groups have fared badly compared to older generations. Their conclusion is that ‘We need to build more houses!’ But actually that is not the answer.

The main feature of the housing market is that although housing supply largely matches housing ‘need’, it does not take into account what the supply is for. If developers focus on luxury housing, housing for second homes/holiday lets then the actual supply for those needing a home will be far lower than the figures suggest and at the same time is likely to push up house prices.

The ease of access to credit is another factor as the report itself admits. But studies have shown that easy credit has been a key factor pushing up house prices over time,

Demand for housing has also risen as the population has increased and is a factor in the provision of smaller, lower quality housing. In one sense rising land and house prices


a consequence of a limited supply of land.

Demand for housing in the UK is skewed towards those on high incomes who have the capacity to purchase housing – not only to live in but to rent out thereby gaining an income.

Younger people were hit more by the recession and its aftermath than older age groups with lower incomes, poorer jobs and welfare cuts.
[] [More young people also studying which defers the age at which they enter the labour market].

The disparities in income and wealth distribution are a significant factor in making housing less accessible rather than a lack of supply.

[We do find it irritating that David Willetts is never questioned about his role in Government when welfare cuts, student fee increases and unnecessary austerity were imposed which impacted significantly on the younger generation!]

Housing for local need – oh come on this is housing for affluent escapees from middle England!

Lowenna Fields – £475,000 – £625,000

Welcome to Lowenna Fields – An exclusive collection of superior 3, 4 & 5 bedroom homes, less than five miles from Falmouth and close to the magnificent Cornish coast.

Lowenna Fields is over 95% sold out – don’t miss you chance to live at this lovely development.

[If you are a local resident of the area and in housing need, you might find it rather hard to stump up the money!]

“Escape to the country and live life to the full” says it all – these are not for local need or even affluent locals but designed, developed and directed at the affluent element of those in England particularly the South East and London.

Now according to Sajid Javid this is ‘local need’! We think not!

Shopping all hours – time to call a halt!

In the post war period society changed in many ways with the advent of the NHS, a welfare system and in many ways a fairer system of taxes. Yet since the early eighties there has been a gradual but steady change. We have seen public services privatised, income rates for high earners reduced and a dismantling of elements of the welfare state.

Another area where change has occurred is that of shop opening hours. Not only are more shops now open on Sundays but opening hours during the rest of the week have been extended. For example:

Sainsbury: 7:00 to 10:00 (11:00 in Truro)
Morrisons: 7:00 to 10:00
Tesco: 6:00 to 10:00 (24 hours at Pool)

A few years ago most shops closed at 7:00 or 8:00 in the evening. We have now reverted to the past, a sort of Jacob Rees-Mogg vision of society.

Shopaholics (and retailers themselves) probably see this as a good thing, but there are serious downsides.

Workers – we seem to have forgotten about the quality of life for the workforce! Why should shop workers work early in the morning and in the evenings! Working all hours also has negative implications for health.

Impact on local communities – longer opening hours means more traffic with the resultant noise and pollution for communities living near stores and feeder roads – a reduction in their quality of life.

Transport – its hard enough now to have a public transport system to cater for transporting people around during the day without the early morning and evening. So the extending shop opening hours means more car travel.

The future – the obsession with retail ‘therapy’ is not good for the planet or the economy. It results in over-consumption of goods and a failure to enjoy other things in life as the quote below shows.

Not everyone would agree. In July, business minister Anna Soubry said Sunday was the most miserable day of the week before Sunday trading. However, according to Coote, there are plenty of other ways for people to spend their time on Sundays: “There’s more to life than shopping, surely? It’s time to get off the treadmill and value other things, such as hanging out with friends and neighbours, making things, preparing meals, playing games, dancing, reading, going for walks, exercise … These are not about spending money and accumulating possessions, but about enriching daily life and flourishing.”

For the benefit of workers, communities, the enviroment and ourselves – we need to cut back shopping hours not extend them!