The Cornwall We Know
Welcome to The Cornwall We Know, where you will find a variety of intelligence and insight, selected from internal and external sources, to help inform our understanding of Cornwall and the impact that COVID-19 has had on our residents and businesses.
Welcome to The Cornwall We Know, where you will find a variety of intelligence and insight, selected from internal and external sources, to help inform our understanding of Cornwall and the impact that COVID-19 has had on our residents and businesses.
Policy Telegram w/e 31 March 2023
Each weekly Policy Telegram (PolTel) delivers a concise summary briefing of the key Government policy developments and notable research releases that are most critical for Cornwall Council
The Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs has announced that three cutting-edge projects will receive a share of £9.13 million in government funding to carry out research and development on proposals to boost agricultural productivity, sustainability and climate resilience.
The funding will support projects developing robotic crop harvesting for horticulture, an autonomous system to change cows’ bedding to improve their health, welfare and productivity, and a more environmentally friendly approach to potato cultivation.
The Genetic Technology (Precision Breeding) Act passed into law on Thursday 23 March.
The Act will set in motion changes to allow farmers to grow crops which are drought and disease resistant, reduce use of fertilisers and pesticides, and help breed animals that are protected from catching harmful diseases. Precision breeding involves using technologies such as gene editing to adapt the genetic code of organisms – creating beneficial traits in plants that through traditional, breeding would take decades to achieve. This enables scientists to safely create foods that are more flexible, adaptable and plentiful for years to come.
Under the provisions of this Act, a new science-based and streamlined regulatory system will be introduced to facilitate greater research and innovation in precision breeding - with stricter regulations remaining in place for genetically modified organisms (GMOs).
23/3/23 - Reform of the Alcohol Duty System
The Alcohol system has been reformed, establishing common tax bands based on strength and introduces 2 new reliefs and a temporary easement for the wine industry.
Measures introduced have been:
- To replace previous methods for working out Alcohol Duty with a standard method for all alcohol products, based on the litres of pure alcohol they contain.
- To replace provisions in existing primary legislation and removes outdated provisions
- To replace and extend the Small Brewers Relief, with Small Producer Relief (small businesses who produce qualifying alcoholic products will be eligible for reduced rates of Alcohol Duty).
- To introduce a new Draught Relief to reduce the tax burden on products sold in on-trade venues, such as pubs.
To introduce temporary provisions for qualifying wine products for 18 months, to manage the transition to the new method of calculating Alcohol Duty.
The new Plan aims to strengthen early intervention and prevention, build community pride and wellbeing through cleaner, safer public spaces and introduces additional powers for police and local authorities.
- A strong focus on early intervention with young people ‘at risk’ and increasing opportunities to engage in positive local activities and support.
- Councils will be given funding to regenerate local parks and green spaces, and new powers to revive high streets through bringing empty shops back into use.
- A new digital tool for members of the public to report anti-social behaviour simply and easily and a clear route to challenge an unsatisfactory response.
- Increased use of restorative justice for anti-social behaviour, such as cleaning up community spaces, and enabling this to happen more quickly.
- Councils will be able to issue higher fines for graffiti, littering and fly-tipping.
- Housing associations and landlords will be given more powers to evict people who are persistently anti-social.
- New tools will help police and local partners to direct vulnerable people on the streets to the support that they need, with changes to the law to reduce more visible issues such as begging.
- New measures that aim to reduce drug-related anti-social behaviour, including expanding drug testing on arrest and banning nitrous oxide to reduce littering.
Education Investment Areas
Policy paper detailing the educational context and priorities for developing a system led by academy trusts in Education Investment Areas (EIA). The documents are written for schools or trusts, dioceses, groups looking or expand existing trusts or form a new academy trust.
The Department for Education (DfE) has published guidance to the regulations on providing supported accommodation for children and young people. It includes the quality standards that all supported accommodation providers must meet.
The guidance comes following a consultation that was run on the proposed regulation and guidance for supported accommodation for looked after children (LAC) and care leavers aged 16 and 17, which ran from December 2022 to January 2023.
New figures in the latest Size & Health of the UK Space Industry report reveal that income from the UK space sector grew by almost £1 billion in 2021. Revenue went from £16.5bn in 2020 to £17.5bn in 2021. Employment increased by almost 1,800 more jobs across the sector, with the number of space organisations now totalling at almost 300.
The deadline for paying voluntary National Insurance contributions has been extended from 5 April 2023 to 31 July 2023. It also applies to individuals who want to fill gaps in their National Insurance record from 6 April 2006 to 5 April 2017.
Consultation on the revision of 13 existing EALs.
The Environment Agency uses EALs to judge the acceptability of proposed emissions to air from industrial sites, and their relative contribution to the environment. EALs represent a pollutant concentration in ambient air at which no appreciable risks or minimal risks to human health are expected.
20 June 2023
Policy Telegram w/e 24 March 2023
Each weekly Policy Telegram (PolTel) delivers a concise summary briefing of the key Government policy developments and notable research releases that are most critical for Cornwall Council
The Government has awarded the funding through the Social Housing Decarbonisation fund, Home Upgrade Grant, and Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme. The money will be split into:
- £1.4bn to local authorities, providers of social housing and charities to upgrade homes and off-grid households with energy efficiency measures.
- £409m to reduce carbon emissions of hospitals, schools, museums, universities, and other public sector buildings across England.
Energy efficiency measures, including loft insulation and new windows, mean households could save between £220 and £400 on annual energy bills, with funding expected to support 20,000 jobs.
This report from the University of Kent and University of Southampton exposes a surge in rural rough sleeping since the pandemic which is being worsened by the cost-of-living crisis. The report found the countryside is battling a 'hidden homelessness' crisis driven by soaring housing costs and a gaping shortfall in local authority funding.
The study, which also included a survey of 157 frontline support workers, service providers, NGOs, and shelters, found:
· 91% of respondents in rural areas have seen homelessness increase in the past five years
· 83% of respondents in rural areas said their job had become harder in the past five years
· 81% of respondents believe that rough sleeping is experienced differently in rural areas compared to urban areas.
Overall, rural local authorities are receiving 65% less funding per capita through the Homelessness Prevention Grant than urban areas. The sharp discrepancy in financial aid discovered in statistics released by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, shows urban local authorities were paid £7.15, compared to just £2.50 paid to rural local authorities when calculated on a like-for-like basis.
Cost of Living
Terms and Conditions relating to applications for £150 non-domestic alternative fuel payment and for the top-up payment for high users of heating oil (kerosene) have been released.
The Government confirmed the budget for this year’s Contracts for Difference, which supports low-carbon electricity generation.
The government announced £170m pledged for established technologies in renewables and £10m ringfenced for tidal, as part of the first annual flagship renewables auction. The scheme will bolster investment into the sector every year, delivering clean, homegrown energy as well as green growth in jobs.
The government has announced an increase to the rate of Plastic Packaging Tax from 1 April 2023 in line with the Consumer Price Index. The aim of the tax is to provide an economic incentive for businesses to use recycled plastic in the manufacture of plastic packaging, which will create greater demand and stimulate higher rates of recycling.
15/3/23 - Tobacco duty: changes to rates
The government has announced an increase to the duty rate on all tobacco products by the Tobacco Duty escalator of 2% above the Retail Price Index (RPI) inflation.
Hand-rolling tobacco will rise by an additional 4% to 6% above RPI inflation, and the Minimum Excise Tax (MET) will increase by an additional 1%, to 3% above RPT.
Homes for Ukraine
The Government has announced temporary tax reliefs and exemptions in connection with the Homes for Ukraine Sponsorship Scheme for ‘thank you’ payments made by local authorities to sponsors under the scheme.
As part of the scheme, sponsors receive a monthly sum of £350 (capped to 12 months) as a ‘thank you’ for housing an individual or family. Without specific legislation these payments could be subject to tax. The introduction of the new measures has not been subject to a consultation as the government has previously announced that the payments would be tax free.
This measure is wholly relieving with retrospective effect. The exemption from Income Tax and Corporation Tax will have effect from the 14 March 2022, when the Homes for Ukraine scheme launched.
The Government’s new health and disability white paper sets out proposals to help more disabled people and people with health conditions to start, stay and succeed in work.
The White Paper sets out how the Government will help open-up more work opportunities, provide the right support, improve government services and transform the system for the future by:
- Transforming the benefits system by removing the Work Capability Assessment. This will ensure that those who are able to, can progress in or towards work, without the worry of being reassessed and losing their benefits.
- Improving employment support for disabled people and people with health conditions, investing to help people start, stay and succeed in work.
- Improving the overall experience of the benefits system for disabled people, making it easier for people to access the right support and improving trust and transparency in decisions and processes.
Data Release: Children and Low-Income Families
The Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) has released the latest annual statistics on the number and proportion of children in low-income families, up to 2021/22 and covering the period from 2013/14-2021/22.
During the Spring Statement, delivered on Wednesday 15 March, the Government pledged around £1bn of government funding for supercomputing and AI research, with the aim of establishing the UK as a science and technology superpower. Alongside this, they announced a new Quantum Strategy which is backed by £2.3bn over the next 10 years, which will help bring new investment, fast-growing businesses and high-quality jobs to the UK.
To support research and development projects (R&D), from 1 April 2023, the Government will introduce an increased rate of relief for loss-making R&D intensive Small and Medium size Enterprises (SMEs). Eligible companies will receive £27 from HMRC for every £100 of R&D investment.
The consultation seeks views on an extension to the current Climate Change Agreements Scheme, adding a reporting period between 1 January 2024 to 31 December 2024. This will result in another certification period ending on 31 March 2027, providing further reductions in the Climate Change Levy for participants.
The consultation outlines:
- Aspects of the current scheme that will be retained for the extension, as well as some proposed changes.
- Further developed proposals for a potential future scheme, following on from proposals in our last consultation including target setting, reporting and how performance will be measured.
10 May 2023
The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities seeks views on the approach to developing Environmental Outcomes Reports to support departments in the next stage of policy development.
The Government will be replacing the EU-derived Strategic Environmental Assessment and Environmental Impact Assessment processes with a new system of environmental Outcome Reports. The introduction of an? outcomes-based approach to the Environmental Outcomes Reports allows the Government to reflect its environmental priorities directly into plan-making and decision-making process on the largest developments.
9 June 2023
A technical consultation on the Infrastructure Levy. The Infrastructure Levy is a reform to the existing system of developer contributions – Section 106 planning obligations and the Community Infrastructure Levy - in England. This consultation will inform the design of the Levy and of regulations that will set out its operation in detail.
15/3/23 - VAT energy saving materials relief – improving energy efficiency and reducing carbon emissions
At Spring Statement 2022, the government announced changes to expand the VAT energy saving materials relief in Great Britain, providing tax incentives worth approximately £280 million to improve the energy efficiency of homes over a five-year period to 31 March 2027.
The Call for Evidence builds on those changes and seeks views on 2 further potential areas of reform for this relief to meet its intended objectives more effectively. The first potential area of reform is the inclusion of additional technologies and the second is to extend the relief to installations of energy saving materials in buildings intended solely for a relevant charitable purpose.
As part of the Cornwall Council Devolution Deal consultation the Government has committed to working with Cornwall Council to explore the viability of a place-based approach. Included within this is the simplification and consolidation of funding to delivering retrofit measures that could be effectively rolled out further in Cornwall and elsewhere.
Each weekly Policy Telegram (PolTel) delivers a concise summary briefing of the key Government policy developments and notable research releases that are most critical for Cornwall.
A Thriving, Sustainable Cornwall:
Homelessness prevention, health and wellbeing
- Good quality supported housing has a significant positive impact on its residents’ health, wellbeing, and sense of social connection.
- Supported housing plays a critical role in reducing homelessness and relieving pressures on the social care, health, criminal justice, and housing sectors.
- Short-term and transitional supported housing is playing a key role in reducing and/or preventing higher-risk forms of homelessness.
- Supported housing residents have complex needs: 9 out of 10 have at least one health condition or disability (including substance misuse, mental ill-health, learning disability/autistic spectrum disorder and physical conditions), and half of them are experiencing more than one of these conditions.
- Were it not for supported housing, there would be an increase in core homelessness of around 41,000 people, with a further 30,000 people at significant risk of future homelessness.
- One of the biggest challenges facing supported housing is the reduction in funding over time.
- The ability to move people on into independent tenancies is limited by a lack of affordable and suitable housing
Vibrant, Safe, Supportive Communities:
The British Chamber of Commerce (BCC) worked with leading panel provider Find Out Now to conduct a landmark survey of more than 4,100 respondents in February 2023.
Key findings were:
- Two-thirds (67%) of female respondents who have had childcare responsibilities in the last 10 years felt they missed out on career progression as a result. This includes career development, pay rises and/or promotions. For male respondents who have had childcare responsibilities, 35% believed they missed out.
- Almost two-thirds (62%) of female respondents said they would prefer to take time from paid work for childcare responsibilities, compared to 55% of male respondents
- 77% of male respondents believe there is not sufficient support available for people with non-paid caring responsibilities for elderly or disabled relatives or friends. This figure increases to 86% for female respondents.
- For those who have had caring responsibilities in the last 10 years, an equal proportion (52%) of males and female respondents felt they missed out on career progression as a result of their duties.
- Almost half (43%) of women feel they will miss out on career opportunities as a result of menopause
- Almost three quarters (74%) of female respondents feel there is not sufficient support for those experiencing menopause.
- One in three (34%) female respondents who have gone through menopause felt that it impacted their career negatively.
The BCC has launched an urgent three-year Chamber campaign based on a three-point plan:
1. Short-term action: Convene employment experts, Chamber CEOs and employers to create a Chamber Workplace Equity Commission
2. Medium-term work: The commission to analyse research findings and case studies, to develop policies for Government and best practices for businesses enshrining equity in the workplace.
3. Long-term goal: Re-run the same survey with the aim of moving the dial on the findings we are publishing today.
The Government also announced the international women and girls strategy 2023 to 2030. The strategy looks at tackling gender inequality and violence towards women and girls internationally: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/international-women-and-girls-strategy-2023-to-2030
A Brilliant Place to be a Child and Grow Up:
Primary Schools COVID recovery programme
Almost 11,000 Schools, recruited from 13 regions including Cornwall took part in a government funded roll-out of a two-year programme to support four- and five-year olds who would benefit from support with their language skills through the Nuffield Early Language Intervention (NELI).
Two independent evaluations of NELI were published. A process evaluation of the national roll-out, conducted by RAND Europe, found that it was well managed and easy for schools to access. However, some schools were unable to deliver the programme as intended due to Covid-related disruptions. For example, some adapted the number of one-to-one sessions, while others continued delivery into Year 1.
Schools thought that taking part in NELI had been beneficial for their pupils' oral language skills and confidence with using language. This was particularly true for schools who delivered the programme as intended. An impact evaluation of the national roll-out will be published later this year.
An Empowering and Enterprising Council:
The Government has published an update to the UK Critical Minerals Strategy.
Key announcements from the update were:
- Progress updates and key milestones going forward.
- Launch of an independent Task & Finish Group on Critical Minerals for UK Industry to investigate the critical mineral dependencies and vulnerabilities across UK industry sectors and opportunities for industry to promote resilience in its supply chains.
- UK is accelerating its collaboration on critical minerals.
- UK Research and Innovation’s Circular Critical Materials Supply Chains (CLIMATES) fund launched with an initial £15 million in current spending window to focus on making the UK’s Rare Earth Element supply chains more resilient and boost the circular economy
- a £65.5 million Accelerate-to-Demonstrate (A2D) Facility, under the umbrella Clean Energy Innovation Facility (CEIF) platform through the £1 billion Ayrton Fund commitment, includes a dedicated funding pillar on technology innovations for critical minerals in developing countries.
The T-Level 2022 to 2023 action plan includes sections on:
- Rollout of T-Levels.
- T-Levels moved to first delivery in 2024 and beyond.
- T-Level provider information
- T-Level results and certification
- T-Levels for adults
- T-Level capital
- Progression to and from T-Levels
- The Ofsted thematic review of T-Levels
- The role of IfATE in T-Level Delivery
- Industry placements
- Communications and marketing
The latest data release from the Census 2021 details employment in local authorities.
The consultation builds on a call for evidence by the UK and Welsh governments in July 2021 on updates to the 2009 Carbon Capture Readiness requirements. These included:
- Ensuring new build and substantially refurbishing combustion power plants have viable decarbonisation pathways
- Applying the requirements to more combustion power plant technologies and sizes
- Introducing the option to comply with the requirements through hydrogen conversion
- Moving the requirements from the planning regime to the Environmental Permitting regime
The Government has published a draft impact assessment, and Carbon Capture Readiness and hydrogen readiness of electricity generators technical studies alongside the consultation.
24 April 2023
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is consulting on a review of merger undertakings given by British Sky Broadcasting Group plc in 2001.
The CMA consulted on whether to launch a review in an Invitation to Comment, published on 30 January 2023, which closed on 17 February 2023. No responses were received.
The purpose of this review is to determine whether the undertakings given by Sky in 2001 are no longer appropriate and need to be varied, superseded or released.
31 March 2023
Consultation on proposals to modernise the Transport and Works Act (TWA) rules to enable electronic applications for an order, instead of progressing solely paper documents.
7 April 2023
Welcome to the Policy and Intelligence Newsletter, which explores a different theme each month, giving you data insights, policy analysis and signposts for further reading. There are also sections providing a news roundup and Parliamentary stories of interest. In the run-up to Christmas, we take a deep dive into the emotive issue of food insecurity in Cornwall.
- Cornwall Council is to receive £1.8 million over two years in Government funding to support direct flights between Newquay and London, reinstating the Public Service Obligation agreement. Jobs will be created, and a vital transport link secured.
- Citizen’s Advice Cornwall is delivering free one-day workshops to help participants explore tenancy agreements and responsibilities, manage money and debt, and give practical information to sustain and manage a successful tenancy. For more information, email tenancyworkshops@citizensadvice cornwall.org.uk.
- Cornwall Council is one of 13 local authorities chosen to deliver the new Partnerships for People and Place initiative, piloting innovative ways of working with central Government to address community issues such as crime, youth unemployment and health inequalities. Cornwall Council will receive a share of £5 million and specialist support to help communities find locally-led solutions, as part of the Levelling Up Agenda.
- NHS figures show that hospital admissions for malnutrition and scurvy have increased by over 50% in the last decade. The Trussell Trust provided 2.5 million emergency food parcels in 2020, compared to just under 41,000 in 2010.
- The number of children in council care could rise to 100,000 by 2025 – from 69,000 in 2015 – according to a new report from the County Councils Network (CCN). A shortage of foster carers is driving a rise in residential care use for vulnerable children.
- A report from the Building Research Establishment has found that low-quality housing costs the NHS in England £1.4 billion a year. Poor housing predominantly contributes to ill health through exposure to excess cold and injuries due to falls. More than a million falls on staircases were recorded in 2018, at an estimated treatment cost of £219 million.
- A report by CCN and Grant Thornton contains suggestions for Government and local authorities on how County Deals can be successfully and quickly delivered. A key recommendation is that the best governance model for single unitary authorities is a Leader and Cabinet with a non-statutory board.
- Every school and college in England will receive an Ofsted inspection by 2025, to assess the degree of recovery from the impact of the pandemic.
- The Charles Causley Trust, based in Launceston, will receive £95,000 from the third round of the Government’s Culture Recovery Fund. The Trust promotes creative writing and the arts, especially in the area where Charles Causley lived.
- Analysis by CCN has found that there are more public electric vehicle charging points in London than in all of England's counties combined. People living in more rural areas have an average of 16 miles between charging points, compared to an average of one mile in London and six miles in England's biggest eight urban regions.
- The National Youth Agency's Youth Sector Census report has found that access to youth clubs and organisations varies dramatically by place, with double the amount of provision in the most affluent areas compared to the most deprived parts of England.
- If you would like to help make someone else’s Christmas special, Volunteer Cornwall has a list of volunteering and donation opportunities; the Cornwall Independent Poverty Forum has produced a new Christmas Giving Catalogue; and Pirate FM’s Mission Christmas toy appeal has been launched.
View from Westminster
The Department of Health and Social Care has published a policy paper giving further information on reforms to the adult social care charging system. Details include a new £86,000 lifetime limit on individual payments for personal care; people with chargeable assets under £100,000 will not have to contribute more than 20% of those assets per year to personal care costs; and the threshold below which people will not have to pay anything from their assets for their care will rise from £14,250 to £20,000. However, Sir Andrew Dilnot, who led an influential commission on social care reform, has reportedly told MPs he is “very disappointed” with the change to the cost cap.
Reforms to the adult social care charging system come in the context of the new national Adult Social Care: Covid-19 Winter Plan, which establishes the governmental support available for the sector and sets out the key actions to be taken by local authorities, social care providers and the NHS over the winter. Support includes nearly £400 million in additional funding for testing and vaccination uptake in adult social care settings; free flu vaccinations for eligible care workers and carers; and free PPE for the ASC sector until March 2022.
A Government bill to reform the ground rent component of leaseholds is currently making its way through Parliament. The bill aims to effectively make ground rents for new long leases have no financial value, so that owning a leasehold becomes more affordable. Local trading standards authorities will have a duty to enforce the measure, if it passes into law, with planned financial penalties of up to £30,000 - which may be kept by local authorities to meet enforcement costs.
The new Office for Environmental Protection (OEP) has been officially established, with a mandate to make sure local authorities and businesses adhere to the UK’s green policy position. Before the UK’s exit from the European Union, the European Commission had carried out this compliance role. The OEP will launch a series of consultations on its strategic approach in the coming weeks.
The Committee for Housing, Communities and Local Government has issued its fifth inquiry report into Local Government and the Path to Net Zero. The inquiry has found that the existing funding regime, where local authorities are allocated money via competitive grants, makes it hard for councils to make long-term plans and may cause misallocation of resources.
The Government has introduced a bill addressing commercial debts built up during the pandemic, including a new arbitration process and code of practice to help landlords and tenants resolve Covid-19-related rent arrears. County Court and High Court judgements on these types of rent debts will be considered under the new arbitration process as of 10 November 21, and any bankruptcy proceedings started after this date will be voided.
The House of Lords Public Services Committee has published a report on Children in Crisis: the Role of Public Services in Overcoming Vulnerability, which has found that more than a million children in England are likely to have lower life chances and emotional damage as a result of cuts to family and support services such as Sure Start. Children from disadvantaged communities are likely to have been disproportionately affected over the last decade.
Deep dive: Food Insecurity
‘Hunger in the UK isn’t about food – it’s about people not being able to afford the basics.’
-Emma Revie, Chief Executive of the Trussell Trust
Christmas is a time of bountiful feasts and warm family gatherings, which make this deep dive into food insecurity all the more poignant. Christmas notions of abundance contrast sharply with the reality for some of the poorest in our society, particularly as the last decade has witnessed a sizable proliferation of food banks, including here in Cornwall. Hunger is such an emotive issue, as securing enough food for oneself and family is a primary need – in one of the richest nations on Earth, it is confronting to consider that not everyone in the UK can afford life’s essentials. In this deep dive, we explore what food insecurity is, who it impacts and how, as well as what is being done in Cornwall to alleviate it.
What is food insecurity?
In the UK, food insecurity is when someone does not have the financial resources to ensure a reliable access to safe and nutritious food which meets their dietary needs. It can be transitory, acute, or chronic, and ranges in severity from worrying about having enough food, to going whole days without eating. Typically, those affected will have made trade-offs in terms of which basic necessities to prioritise at the expense of others: heating their home, but not eating dinner. This definition of food insecurity should not be conflated with the concept of food security in international relations which revolves around concerns pertaining to international trade, climate change and national security.
How prevalent is food insecurity?
The Food Standards Agency conducts biannual research entitled Food and You which investigates consumer attitudes and behaviours relating to the food environment. The latest findings show that across England, 15% of respondents were classified as food insecure, with 8% categorised as living in a state of ‘low’ food security and 7% as ‘very low’.
The University of Sheffield performed research into food insecurity in the UK and was able to generate statistics at the local authority level. Estimates for Cornwall are below:
Percentage of adults experiencing hunger, struggle or worry in Jan 2021 in Cornwall
Hungry is defined as having skipped food for a whole day or more in the previous month or indicated they were hungry but not eaten because they could not afford or get access to food.
Struggle is defined as a positive response to at least one of the following: sought help accessing food, skipped or shrank meal, gave a reason for not having enough food.
Worry is defined as choosing very worried or fairly worried about getting food.
(Please note that these percentages are not additive, therefore roughly one in ten people are to some degree food insecure in Cornwall.)
Who is most likely to be food insecure?
Research conducted by Cornwall Council’s Food Insecurity Group found that the root cause of food insecurity is poverty. To break it down further, research by the charitable organisation ENUF found three characteristics most associated with the risk of severe food insecurity:
- Being in the lowest income quartile.
- Long-term health problems or disability that limits daily activities.
Separate research by The Trussell Trust, a charity which operates a network of food banks, found that 62% of working age people who were referred to one of their food banks were disabled. In contrast, only 19% of working age adults in the general population are disabled, according to SCOPE.
Several Trussell Trust-commissioned studies give insights into the demographics of food bank users, - typically also those most at risk of food insecurity:
- All food bank users had an income substantially below the threshold of low income in the whole population. Most households reported incomes in the range of £100 to £500 per month, with a sample average £319.43.
- Food bank users typically experience multiple forms of destitution – 50% had gone without heating for over more than four days in the past 12 months, and 20% had slept rough in the previous 12 months.
- The most common household type using food banks were that of single men (39%).
- Lone parents and their children are notably more likely to use food banks, even in comparison to the wider low-income family population.
- Larger families of three or more children were overrepresented in the user population.
The profiles of those using food banks and individuals who are in a general state of food insecurity do not entirely overlap. The most striking difference in the two sets of profiles are that those aged 16-24 who report high levels of food insecurity have low levels of referrals to food banks.
Drivers of food insecurity
Poverty is the key driver, and food insecurity can result from occasional periods of precarity or a constant economic need. The Trussell Trust’s State of Hunger report found three core variables to be pivotal in food bank usage:
- Benefits: People experiencing problems receiving benefits or how some benefits in some places do not cover the cost of living. The linkages between food insecurity and social security are unsurprising given that welfare is the safety net that catches those who fall on hard times.
- Challenging life experiences or ill health: A majority of people referred to food banks had experienced at least one ‘challenging life event’ such as a divorce, a job loss or bereavement.
- Lack of formal or informal support: Food banks users had commonly exhausted support from family or friends, had a resource-poor social network or could not access support due to social isolation.
Yet food insecurity has remained at a stable level for many years in the UK, which suggests that aside from sporadic shocks, there are deeper structural causes. Some think tanks and charities have pointed towards low wages that do not cover the cost of living, in addition to cracks in the welfare safety net, and disability that prevents individuals’ from accessing healthy food. It should be emphasised that in work poverty has increased substantially in the past 25 years, where 37% of those below the official poverty line in 1994–95 and 58% in 2017–18 were in a working household. Low wages are a serious problem in Cornwall, an estimated 68,000 employees earn less than the Real Living Wage, which is equivalent to 4 out of 10 or 39% of all employees, whereas in GB this figure was a much lesser 25%. Cornish towns such as St Ives (48%), Camborne and Redruth (44%) have almost twice the proportion of low paid workers than the national average. In relation to living costs, rising rents appear to account for the main increases in household expenditure, according to Cardiff University research and other studies. Escalating housing costs is of course a key issue in Cornwall. Overall, more must be done in relation to wages which do not cover the cost of living. Food budgets are often the first area of household expenditure to be clipped in order to divert funds towards other vital necessities such as rent and heating.
Charities such as Sustain have clearly stated that reliance on overstretched food banks and food aid charities are not a sustainable safety net as these efforts only address the symptoms of deeper structural problems which lead to poverty, not the causes.
The impact of food insecurity
Food insecurity is one node within a web of deprivation and it has farther reaching effects than the gnawing unpleasantness of hunger. Constrained food budgets are often associated with selecting less varied, low nutrition, high calorie food options. Research has suggested that healthy foods are on average three times more expensive than unhealthy foods per calorie. Cheap junk food which often characterises the modern diet of many of the most disadvantaged has the pernicious consequence that it can make individuals simultaneously overweight and poorly nourished. Analysis of the annual National Diet and Nutrition Survey illuminates how children from the least well-off 20% of families, of which there will be considerable overlap of the food insecure group identified at the beginning of this piece, eat far less healthy food. These children consume around 29% less fruits and vegetables, 75% less oily fish, and 17% less fibre per day than children from the most well off 20%. The ramifications of this dietary disparity, both in children and adults, are severe and coalesce with other aspects of disadvantage to result in drastically lower relative levels of good health.
People living in the most deprived decile are almost twice as likely to die from all preventable causes, compared to those in the richest decile. They are 2.1 times more likely to die from preventable heart disease; 1.7 times more likely to die from preventable cancer; and 3 times more likely to have tooth decay at age 5. Their children are nearly twice as likely to be overweight or obese at age 11. Obesity rates in children are much higher among the most deprived communities compared to the least, in 2020, 12.7% of all children in the most deprived socioeconomic group were classed as obese, compared to 6.3% in the least deprived. In Cornwall, 25.1% of children are overweight and obese children by the time they enter Reception (age 4-5), in comparison to the England average of 23%. Likewise, by the time children in Cornwall reach Year 6, 31.9% are overweight or obese. As another indicator of poor nutrition, children in deprived communities are more than 1 cm shorter on average than children in wealthy communities by the time they reach age 11.
Poor diet increases the risk of illness, it reduces a person’s quality of life as well as risking harm to their mental wellbeing and reducing their life chances. There is a case to be made that low wages and inadequate benefits which lead to an inability to buy good food cost all us as a society: poor health from poor nutrition can lead to gargantuan costs for the NHS. For example, obesity is also correlated with cheap food and a poor diet and is the leading risk factor for type 2 diabetes. The cost of diabetes to the NHS is over £1.5m an hour or 10% of the entire annual NHS budget for England and Wales. This equates to over £25,000 being spent on diabetes every minute. In total, an estimated £11.7b is spent a year on treating type 2 diabetes and its complications.
Another dimension of food insecurity is the relationship between children’s educational attainment and hunger. Hunger and malnutrition affect a child’s ability to concentrate, to absorb and retain new information and to make progress in their learning. Less affluent youngsters struggling to develop intellectually due to hunger has profound implications for our societies’ meritocratic principles and whether we can unlock the potential of our younger generations.
These are but a few examples of the linkages which suggest that food poverty costs all of us dearly, beyond those immediately affected. Ensuring that work and benefits cover the cost of living for all citizens may be more cost effective than society paying in other ways for the fallout of food poverty.
The work underway
As the root cause of food insecurity is poverty, only comprehensive structural changes can entirely vanquish the blight of food insecurity. However, structural problems aside, voluntary organisations primarily as well as Cornwall Council are working to alleviate food insecurity in our Cornish communities. There is a sprawling network of charitable organisations in Cornwall that have taken a lead role in food bank provision and associated activities. You can find out about just some of the good work being done here.
Recently, Cornwall Council received £679K from DEFRA to support those afflicted by food insecurity as a result of the pandemic. This funding pot led to the establishment of the Food Insecurity Group and a grant scheme. Grants were used to support Cornwall’s community food groups, where they could apply for up to £25K for resources such as delivery vans, food storage and volunteer expenses. The funding has supported over 60 community food groups. The Food Insecurity Group have also collaborated with the Cornwall Voluntary Sector Forum who have established the Cornwall Food Access Alliance. These and other measures undertaken by Cornwall Council are helping to strengthen local community groups and work towards more holistic service provision for those in need.
Want to get involved?
If you would like to learn more about food insecurity in Cornwall, an excellent resource is the conference report You can’t eat the view from the End Hunger Cornwall Conference, organised by the Cornwall Independent Poverty Forum, the Diocese of Truro and others. Cornwall Council’s Food Insecurity Group have created a Help With Food map of emergency food provision that supports people to locate and access emergency food as well as enabling professionals to signpost anyone in need to relevant support. The Helping Hand webpage also offers a signposting service and detailed information to support people with a range of needs. The Food Access Alliance’s webpage contains helpful resources as well as information on how you could get involved.
Additionally, Transformation Cornwall are a faith-based institution which releases a monthly newsletter which contains information on current food banks and how potential donors can get involved.
Information in the newsletter is correct at time of writing, 9am on Monday 29 November.
Welcome to the Policy and Intelligence Newsletter, which explores a different theme each month, giving you data insights, policy analysis and signposts for further reading. There are also sections providing a news roundup and Parliamentary stories of interest. This month, we take a deep dive into sustainable tourism.
- Cornwall has been long listed as one of eight candidates for UK City of Culture 2025, chosen from a pool of 20. A government grant of £40,000 and support from the Department for Digital, Culture Media and Sport will help applicants produce a more detailed bid.
- Initial analysis suggests that the substantial number of nationwide job cuts predicted to take place when the Furlough Scheme finished has not materialised, despite a million people receiving payments as the scheme closed at the end of September.
- Cornwall is one of 17 areas chosen to pilot new projects to help people experiencing homelessness after leaving hospital, with funding to provide temporary accommodation, job support and drug treatment to break the cycle of discharge and readmission. A study of 3,000 homeless patients discharged after an emergency admission found 2,000 were readmitted within 12 months: a rate 50% higher than for patients with homes.
- Cornwall Council has successfully bid for nearly £37,000 in grant funding as part of the Government’s Safer Streets Fund for innovative plans to improve the safety of public spaces, particularly for women and girls.
- The Local Government Association (LGA) has warned that waiting lists for council housing could double next year, with 10% of people requesting housing from local authorities waiting more than five years. The LGA suggests that if sufficient investment and powers were given to councils for 100,000 units of social housing to be built each year, public finances would be improved by £24.5 billion over 30 years.
- Cornwall Council has been awarded £2.45 million from the Government’s Brownfield Land Release Fund for the Pydar Regeneration project
- Three cottages in Cawsand in East Cornwall have been refurbished by the Peninsula Trust and let to local people. The Trust, a community organisation, bought the properties from Cornwall Council, reportedly at a substantial discount - this meant that the properties were not put up for sale by auction, which may have priced them out of reach of people in the community.
- A tree disease which causes shoot dieback and makes needles fall off a variety of species has been spotted in Cornwall, thought to be the first report of Phytophthora pluvialis fungus in Europe. The Forestry Commission is carrying out urgent surveillance and diagnosis, and encouraging woodland managers and tree nurseries to be vigilant.
- The Environment Agency is to use a new thermal imaging camera to support night-time enforcement patrols looking out for illegal fishing in Devon and Cornwall, partially based on intelligence reports from local people.
View from Westminster
The Government has published its Net Zero Strategy: Build Back Greener, putting forward a vision for decarbonising every part of the economy to achieve the goal of the UK being net carbon zero by 2050. Emphasising how spearheading a “green industrial revolution” can unlock greater productivity and well-paying jobs, the strategy advocates for phasing out redundant technologies to be replaced by greener, more cost-effective alternatives. Standout policies include: complete decarbonisation of the UK’s power system by 2035; an eventual £1.75 billion investment in social housing decarbonisation schemes and home upgrade grants; and all new heating appliances to be low carbon from 2035 (such as electric heat pumps rather than gas boilers).
The Government’s new National Space Strategy describes the criticality of the space sector to the UK’s economy and national infrastructure, highlighting the many benefits to communications, data analysis and security. The strategy outlines opportunities for the UK to be at the forefront of the boom in global economic growth in the sector as it increases from £270 billion in 2019 to a possible £490 billion by 2030. Cornwall is at the heart of the Government’s future plans, with Spaceport Cornwall and Goonhilly Earth Station featuring prominently.
Two influential cross-party Parliamentary Select Committees have published a joint report on Coronavirus: Lessons Learnt to Date, which although critical of the Government’s handling of the initial response (noting that “in 2020 the UK did significantly worse in terms of Covid death than many other countries”) also highlights the success of the vaccine program, “one of the most successful in Europe”.
A £500 million expansion of the Government’s Plan for Jobs has been unveiled, aiming to support hundreds of thousands of people aged over 50 and those leaving the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme back into work. There will also be support for young people and workers on Universal Credit who want to progress their careers.
The Prime Minister’s keynote address to the Conservative Party Conference appeared to signal that some proposed planning system reforms will be abandoned, saying that the government will “build the homes that [are needed] not on green fields…but beautiful homes on brownfield sites in places where homes make sense”.
The new Office for Health Improvement and Disparities has launched its first campaign, the Every Mind Matters initiative, which aims to help adults improve their mental well-being. 50% of over-18s in England said their mental health had been negatively affected by the pandemic. A few simple questions will give users tailored suggestions for improving sleep; reducing stress and feeling more in control.
The Government has announced an incentive scheme for new maths, science and computing teachers, who will receive up to £3,000 tax-free to support recruitment and retention. The announcement cites evidence that a 10% pay increase leads to a 30% reduction of early leavers in subjects with shortages.
Government consultations have been launched relating to topics previously covered in these newsletters, including reforming working regulations to make flexible working the default (closes 1 December) and a stakeholder survey for the National Infrastructure Planning Reform Programme (closes 17 December).
Deep dive: Sustainable Tourism
Cornwall’s beautiful natural environment is rich in distinctive habitats and wildlife, shaped by our history. Nature is the foundation of Cornwall’s community, heritage and proud sense of place. It makes Cornwall a special and unique place to live, work and visit. Our Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty cover around a third of Cornwall, including most of our 400 miles of stunning coastline. And our seas are an ecological hotspot, with our ancient maerl beds the Cornish equivalent of a coral reef.
From Golitha Falls to St Nectarn’s Glen, Tehidy Country Park to Eden; Cornwall hosts an incredible network of spectacular natural attractions for visitors. Research from the University of Exeter’s Environmental Sustainability Institute has found 24% of visitors to Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly and 13% of residents take part in paid-for nature-based activities, but 62% of visitors and 38% of residents said they would be interested in taking part in paid activities to support nature, so there may be opportunities to develop appropriate marketing and development strategies. Expanding nature-based opportunities could attract more visitors during the off-peak season, bring people to inland locations, and support the wider rural economy by farm income diversification, for example.
Any expansion of these opportunities must also address existing access inequalities: a Natural England survey in August this year found that the probability someone would visit a green space was correlated with household income. 68% of adults in England across all economic backgrounds had visited a green space within 14 days of the survey question. However, only 50% of people from households earning under £15,000 had visited a natural space within the last 14 days, compared to 70% of those with household incomes between £15,000-£49,999, and 75% of people from households earning £50,000 or above.
If we are to safeguard our environment for the wellbeing of future generations and support it on the road to recovery from the ongoing ecological crisis of declining biodiversity, we need to make space for nature. It is critical that our recreational activity does not disturb, pollute or degrade it further – meaning a modal shift to car-less or active forms of travel. The hospitality industry can benefit from programmes like WiSe, a voluntary scheme providing training and accreditation for tourism and recreational providers to minimise disturbance to marine wildlife.
Cornwall’s tourism sector: facts and figures.
Visit Cornwall, Cornwall’s Tourist Board, have provided some facts and figures about our tourism sector, from the Cornwall Business Survey 2021, the Community Attitude Study 2021 and the Volume of Value of Tourism Report 2019, all conducted by the South West Research Company:
- 83% of residents think tourism is good overall for Cornwall, down from 89% in 2012.
- Pre-pandemic, 30% of households in Cornwall gained income from the visitor economy.
- Pre-pandemic, 53,000 jobs in Cornwall were in tourism or hospitality. 94% of people employed were Cornish residents.
- 36% of people employed in tourism and hospitality were paid less than £20,000 a year, not on the National Minimum Wage or Real Living Wage.
- Tourism and hospitality businesses typically spend 35% of their turnover on wages and 42% indirectly on goods and services. 73% of the indirect goods and services spend went to businesses in Cornwall.
- 57% of tourism and hospitality businesses are open all year round. 25% of businesses close for some of the year but would stay open for longer if it was economically viable to do so.
- Visitors to Cornwall spent an approximate total of £2 billion per year, pre-pandemic.
Effect of the pandemic on Cornwall’s tourism and hospitality sectors.
The Covid-19 pandemic has had a particularly significant impact on Cornwall’s tourism and hospitality sector, in common with other peripheral regions where tourism is a key component of the economy. Early assessments of the sectorial impact of Covid-19 by the Centre for Towns identified the most at-risk part of the economy as accommodation; art and leisure; non-food retail; and pubs and restaurants. Newquay, with its thriving tourist industry pre-pandemic, had the highest combined proportion of employees working across multiple at-risk sectors (56.2%), making it the most economically exposed town in England and Wales. Four other Cornish towns (St Ives, Penzance, Falmouth and St Blazey) featured in the top 20 towns with the highest sectorial impact from Covid-19, assessed in 2020.
Recent analysis by KPMG has found that the economic recovery from the pandemic will almost certainly be sectorially imbalanced: manufacturing and construction are likely to make a swift recovery – they were exempt from the second and third national lockdowns, with just 10% of jobs furloughed. Many retail sales have moved online – internet sales now make up over 33% of purchases and sales volumes are above pre-pandemic levels, with KPMG forecasting retail output to grow through 2021 and 2022. By contrast, activity in the hospitality sector came to an almost complete stop over the last year, although food and drink businesses are likely to see a return to pre-pandemic levels by the end of 2021.
Preliminary analysis by Cornwall Council’s Economic Growth team suggests that Cornwall's hospitality and tourism related businesses will bounce back much quicker than our other sectors. Food businesses supplying companies in these sectors will probably see rapid post-pandemic growth: by contrast, food businesses supplying supermarkets have seen little impact from the pandemic, but are now experiencing squeezed profit margins.
The UN World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) defines sustainable tourism as "Tourism that takes full account of its current and future economic, social and environmental impacts, addressing the needs of visitors, the industry, the environment and host communities". UNWTO identifies three key principles of sustainable tourism:
- Natural heritage, biodiversity and the environment are critical parts of tourism, and must be protected, maintained and used to best effect.
- The culture, heritage and values of societies which host tourists must be respected and conserved. Mutual understanding and tolerance should be promoted.
- Economic and social benefits of tourism should be long-term and shared equitably between all stakeholders – this includes reliable jobs, giving back to host communities and remediating poverty in the local area.
Visit Cornwall suggest eight ways tourism could be made more sustainable, and even regenerative - where we are not only avoiding harm, but actively repairing and doing good:
- Develop and approve an assessment procedure for evaluating and appraising existing and proposed tourism developments.
- Select and implement a minimum sustainability accreditation scheme.
- Provide advice and support to minimise the use of resource and waste. This could include restaurants promoting smaller menus with more locally sourced produce, or aiming for lower amounts of food waste alongside composting.
- Enhance the low carbon/net zero carbon tourism offer, with schemes such as cycling and electric bike routes. Businesses could be encouraged to think of where their customers come from and how long they stay, targeting advertising to local visitors for day trips.
- Promote effective working with local communities, councils and other appropriate organisations.
- Create a Research and Development Centre of Expertise for developing sustainable, regenerative tourism - with high-quality market research and intelligence to drive product improvement.
- Focus on market research and product development for high-value sustainable, regenerative visitor experiences.
- Support nature recovery, particularly at visitor sites – most of which have some unused land that could be used for rewilding or planting pollinators.
Case Study: EXPERIENCE Project
The EXPERIENCE Project is an EU-funded, cross-channel initiative which promotes off-season experience-led tourism to create a more sustainable, year-round visitor economy. Running until 2023, it is a collaboration between the channel regions of Cornwall, Kent, Norfolk, Brittany, Pas-de-Calais and Compiègne. Cornwall Council has received €1.9 million in funding from the European Regional Development Fund, and invested an additional €0.9 million.
The project champions connecting visitors with the historic, cultural and natural capital of regions so tourists can experience places as locals do - via experiences such as sea swimming, foraging and hidden history tours. EXPERIENCE is keen to attract day visitors and those coming from outside the region in the off-season of October-March, with the Cornwall branch focusing on Penzance and Marazion as a pilot area. The project provides:
- Underpinning research based on business, visitor and residents’ surveys, to understand the effects of pandemic on businesses; the carbon footprint of typical visitors; and the impact of peak-season tourism on residents. If you would like to take part in the residents’ survey, it is currently running here.
- Capital projects such as the Mount’s Bay Coast Path (from Marazion to Penzance) redevelopment and Mount’s Bay arts trail with a submerged ancient forest as its centrepiece.
- Business development and training sessions, to develop new out of season offers with a sustainable, local focus. Research into business skills gaps helps drive the training offer. If you run a business in Marazion or Penzance and would like to take advantage of the training and development on offer, please contact email@example.com.
A range of opportunities, some more controversial than others, could make tourism in Cornwall more sustainable.
- A tourism tax is a hotly-debated way of local authorities generating income, typically based on an extra charge for each night spent in accommodation. Opponents say that UK providers pay very high VAT and property taxes already, compared to European competitors, and that an extra tax would hinder recovery of the hospitality sector. Those in favour, such as councillors in Edinburgh who approved proposals for a Transient Visitor Levy in 2019, argue that a tax would help reduce the impact of tourism on residents, provide a sustainable way of managing tourism and allow for reinvestment in the local area.
- Voluntary contribution programmes, such as additional optional payments when booking holidays or Cornwall Council’s ‘Back the Future’ crowdfunding. These sorts of revenue streams could help offset carbon and biodiversity impacts, and enable the visitor economy to support Cornwall’s carbon neutral and nature recovery ambitions. Successful schemes already exist locally, such as an opt-out booking scheme at Mother Ivey’s Bay Holiday Park and Martha’s Orchard which supports Cornwall Wildlife Trust, with around 70% of bookings resulting in a contribution. The Scarlet and Bedruthan hotels similarly support multiple initiatives like Surfers Against Sewage.
- Development of Astro Tourism. Light pollution makes it increasingly difficult to adequately see the night sky, with a third of the world’s population no longer able to see the Milky Way. Places with comparatively low light pollution, such as Cornwall, can promote stargazing as a year-round, environmentally-friendly tourist activity. Indeed, the Isles of Scilly have recently held their first Astro Tourism Week.
- Tourist Accommodation registration. The Government is due to launch a consultation on the introduction of a Tourist Accommodation registration scheme in England as part of its wider plans for tourism recovery. This will focus on the impacts of the rise of short-term holiday rentals in destinations across the country and its effect on local economies and communities, with opportunity to consider measures of re-balance.
Information in the newsletter is correct at time of writing, 9am on Wednesday 27 October.
Welcome to the Policy and Intelligence Newsletter, exploring a different theme each month – giving you data insights, policy analysis and signposts for further reading, as well as our regular news roundup and Parliamentary stories of interest. This month, we take a “deep dive” into the work of Cornwall’s Fire and Rescue Service.
- A 7,000km long undersea transatlantic communications cable has been brought ashore on Crooklets Beach in Bude. The cable, laid between New York, Bilbao and Bude is expected to be operational in 2022. The Google data cable is said to have the capacity to handle "17.5 million people streaming 4K video concurrently".
- Cornwall Council has won £200,000 of Government innovation funding to develop artificial intelligence modelling for predicting toxin concentrations in harmful algal blooms. These can contaminate shellfish – causing illness when consumed and leading to food recalls.
- A new report by the County Councils Network and Rural Services Network, The State of Care in County & Rural Areas, concludes that recently-announced national social care reforms will not address structural issues in the system and may make local care markets unsustainable.
- The South Western Ambulance Service faced the "highest level of sustained demand on our 999 service we have ever known" this August, receiving a call on average every 25 seconds.
- A major new wetland habitat is being created in East Cornwall, by causing the River Tamar to deliberately flood farmland. New wildlife will hopefully be attracted to the area, which will also provide protection against the effects of heavy rainfall for nearby residents.
- Detailed accessibility information is being provided for disabled drivers and passengers in the South West, facilitating planning for breaks on longer journeys. The collaboration between the National Highways Agency and AccessAble sees the launch of free guides for motorway service stations, detailing parking facilities, hearing loops, walking distances and accessible toilets.
- A report by the County Councils Network, Rising to the Climate Challenge, warns that efforts to achieve net carbon zero in the UK could be undermined by being too city-focused. Rural local authorities face place-based challenges such as comparatively lower levels of public transport and higher house retrofit costs, which are yet to be tackled by the provision of extra funding.
View from Westminster
- Following a Cabinet reshuffle, Michael Gove MP has replaced Robert Jenrick MP as the Secretary of State for the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG). MHCLG is to be rebranded as the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, reflecting the "central mission" of levelling up each part of the UK.
- Draft changes to national planning legislation – where local authorities would designate all land as being appropriate for growth, renewal or protection – are reportedly to be paused while MPs’ concerns are addressed.
- A new £800 million Live Events Reinsurance Scheme has been unveiled by the Treasury, supporting large-scale functions such as festivals and conferences which have struggled to gain cancellation insurance because of the pandemic.
- The Government has launched its autumn and winter Covid plan, setting out measures for managing the pandemic until 2022, including contingency plans in case the situation sharply deteriorates. People vaccinated during the first stage of the vaccine rollout (priority groups 1-9) will be offered a booster shot and those who test positive will continue to be legally required to isolate.
- A ‘new deal’ between Government and faith groups has been developed, capitalising on efforts to help communities during lockdown. Faith groups will be able to apply for a share of a £1 million fund for “projects providing innovative solutions to issues such as food poverty and poor mental health”. Bids for the funding close 7 October.
- The Treasury has raised £10 billion for environmental projects by selling "Green Gilts" - Government bonds giving a static rate of return over a medium-term period. The money will be used to fund net zero Government initiatives such as zero-emissions buses, offshore wind projects and decarbonising buildings.
- The Government is reportedly to introduce legislation that will make the installation of electric vehicle charging points mandatory in all new-build homes and offices.
Deep dive: Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service
Cornwall Fire & Rescue Service (FRS) is part of Cornwall Council, sitting within the Neighbourhoods directorate alongside Communities & Public Protection. Cornwall’s FRS works closely with Council leadership, with Chief Fire Officer Kathryn Billing integrated into several cross-Service leadership teams. Governance arrangements for FRSs are not the same across the country, with at least eight different types in place. Some fire and rescue authorities are a single person (such as a mayor or a Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner), while others are made up of all elected members of the local authority, as is the case in Cornwall.
To get an idea of Cornwall FRS’s priorities and objectives – and how they link to Council priorities – you can read the Integrated Risk Management Plan (IRMP). IRMPs are a national requirement, running for at least three years and aligning with the Fire and Rescue National Framework for England.
Integrated risk management planning gives FRSs the flexibility to use resources in the most effective way to save lives, improve public safety and reduce emergency incidents. Every year the plan is reviewed against:
- Emerging evidence
- The changing context of local government and council budgets and priorities.
The IRMP identifies and assesses all foreseeable fire and rescue related risks and sets out mitigations: these are detailed in the annual Risk Based Evidence Profile - Strategic Assessment of Risk document.
Cornwall FRS facts and figures:
- 31 community fire stations across Cornwall, two with 24-hour operational crews.
- Five stations operate 7am-7pm (on-call staff at night) and 24 stations are crewed solely by on-call personnel.
- From 7pm – 7am across Cornwall 29 of 31 stations are on-call. It’s recognised that this has an impact on our response times, but the FRS works hard to ensure their response is as quick as it can be.
- The make-up of operational firefighters across the Service is approximately 70% on-call and 30% wholetime.
- The Critical Control Centre handles 999 calls 24 hours-a-day, 365 days a year; manages out of hours calls for some critical council departments and monitors CCTV for a number of town and parish councils. All these functions provide an efficient approach to working together to make Cornwall safer for one and all.
- The service responds annually to an average of 230 accidental dwelling fires per year. In 2020/21, 206 were responded to.
- 2,153 Home Fire Safety Visits took place during 2020/21, although Covid-19 meant that this was 50% below the target of 5,648.
- In a typical year, the service responds to around 350 deliberate fires. In 2020/21 there was a significant reduction, at 265.
- Fires in non-domestic premises account on average for 129 responses by the FRS each year, although following the trend in other areas, in 2020/21 the service responded to 75.
- Automatic fire detection equipment in non-domestic premises usually cause 400 false alarm responses each year, but during 2020/21 this rose to 483.
Performance figures for 2020/21 varied from previous years in some areas, mainly due to the impact of the pandemic. Throughout Covid-19, Cornwall FRS have responsively altered many ways of working, learning from and adapting to rapidly changing requirements, continually striving to deliver the best Fire & Rescue Service possible for residents, businesses and visitors to Cornwall.
Information correct at time of writing, 3pm on 23 September. We have corrected "North Cornwall" to "East Cornwall" in the News Roundup bullet point referring to the new wetland habitat - our apologies.
Welcome to the new format Policy and Intelligence Newsletter, which will explore a different theme each month, giving you data insights, policy analysis and signposts for further reading. There will also be regular sections providing a news roundup and Parliamentary stories of interest. In the month after exam results were released, we take a deep dive into education in Cornwall.
- Cornwall’s health and care system is reportedly under 'ongoing extreme' demand. The medical director of the Royal Cornwall Hospital has said the , with an average of 51 patients at any one time. There was an average of 28 in July 2020.
- The Environment Agency is encouraging anglers to report sightings of salmon exhibiting symptoms of Red Skin Disease, after fish were seen with signs of the condition in Devon and Cornwall, as well as other parts of the UK.
- 12 August was GCSE results day. In the South West, 78.6% of GCSEs were graded at 4 or C and above, slightly below the England average of 79.1%.
- College and secondary school students in Cornwall and other South West regions will be requested to wear face coverings in on-site communal areas, but not in classrooms, for 5 weeks of enhanced local support measures from 27 August.
- 9 September is International Day to Protect Education from Attack. Over the past 5 years, more than 22,000 students, teachers, and academics were harmed or killed in attacks on education during armed conflict or insecurity, worldwide.
View from Westminster
A consultation has been launched on plans for new Local Nature Recovery Strategies across England as part of the landmark Environment Bill. The consultation launch follows successful Local Nature Recovery Strategy pilots in Cornwall and four other areas across England. The scheme is managed by local partner organisations in conjunction with Natural England. You can read more about Cornwall’s Nature Recovery Plan here.
The Government's Family Hub programme - bringing together multi-agency support for vulnerable families in single locations - will receive a £10 million funding boost. Local authorities can use the money to provide services such as early education support and counselling for survivors of domestic abuse.
A yearly record number of households have benefitted from the Help to Buy scheme as loans pass £20 billion. The scheme helps first-time buyers on to the housing ladder by providing a loan to put towards the cost of buying a newly built home. In Cornwall, there were 283 Help to Buy: Equity Loans for first time buyers during the financial year 2020-2021, a decrease of 28.3% from the previous financial year. Figures show that in total, there were 3,447 available sales listings in Cornwall on Rightmove during May 2021, a reduction of 55% compared to May 2019.
As children return to schools, HMRC is reminding families they may be eligible for Tax-Free Childcare to help pay for breakfast and after school clubs. The scheme is accessible for parents or carers with children 11 and under (17 and under for parents or carers of a child with a disability). You can check your eligibility and register for Tax-Free Childcare here.
Deep dive: Education
Cornwall’s Education Strategy states that all children, young people and families in Cornwall are entitled to a world class education that helps them to achieve the best possible outcomes at every stage of their lives. Both our schools and Cornwall Council’s Education Service have strived to keep this a reality throughout an extremely challenging past 18 months.
Education is a critical element of the infrastructure of Cornwall. The aim is to ensure that education will be high quality, sustainable and flexible to meet the changing needs of the residents of Cornwall - from birth to adulthood. The provision of world class educational opportunities underpins and drives the development of the economic prosperity for Cornwall. This in turn aligns with wider Council priorities, as well as providing a keystone for helping make Cornwall a brilliant place to live for a child.
Our priorities include:
- Promote the educational outcomes of disadvantaged children and young people ensuring schools can support children at risk of exclusion
- Promote a sense of belonging and wellbeing
- Early Intervention for communication needs
- All children achieve their potential
There is a total of 280 state-maintained schools and nurseries in Cornwall (two new Primary schools opened from 1 September 2021, one in Newquay, the other in Launceston). These 280 are broken down as follows:
- 2 Nursery schools (both LA maintained)
- 7 Infant schools
- 7 Junior schools
- 222 Primary schools
- 31 Secondary schools (12 offer 6th form provision)
- 4 Special schools
- 7 Alternative Provision Academies
Of the 236 Infant/Junior/Primary schools,
- 184 are Academy schools (3 are Free Schools, while the other 181 are either Sponsor led or Converter Academies)
52 are LA maintained schools
- 27 are LA Community schools
- 18 are Foundation schools
- 5 are Voluntary Aided schools
- 2 are Voluntary Controlled schools
Of the 31 Secondary schools,
- 26 are Academy schools (6 are Sponsor led Academies, with the remaining being Converter Academies)
5 are LA maintained schools:
- 4 are Foundation schools
- 1 is an LA Community school
- The 11 Special/Alternative Provision Academies are all Converter Academies
Recent key achievements include the continued delivery of education throughout the Covid challenges, due to the dedication of the education workforce in our schools. In addition to this, a high percentage of pupils will be attending their first choice Primary and Secondary schools from September.
With regard to secondary education 5,648 pupils have been allocated a place in one of their three preferred schools (99.31% of pupils). 5,436 pupils have been allocated a place in their first preference school which represents 95.5% of pupils. This has been supported by the development of over 1700 additional school places across Cornwall over the past 4 years.
For primary schools 99% of pupils were allocated a place in one of their three preferred schools with 95.8% being allocated a place in their first preference school.
The impact of Covid-19 notwithstanding, there has been a notable reduction in the number of fixed and permanent exclusion over the last 12 months, which, again, is testament to the commitment of schools and the Local Authority. Every effort will be made to sustain this over the upcoming school year, which will of course be challenging once more but which will also hopefully see more of a return to normality for our young people across Cornwall.
Welcome to the new format Policy and Intelligence Newsletter, which will explore a different theme each month, giving you data insights, policy analysis and signposts for further reading. There will also be regular sections providing a news roundup and Parliamentary stories of interest. This month, we take a deep dive into Cornwall’s ecological emergency and what the Council and partners are doing to help nature recover.
- As of 28 July a total of 23,094 people in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly have tested positive for Covid-19. A total of 478 people in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly have died within 28 days of a positive test for Covid-19.
- England moved to Step 4 of the Government’s Covid-19 roadmap on 19 July, with many restrictions coming to an end. The Prime Minister has urged a cautious approach, and said that the Test, Trace and Isolate system must remain in place. However, some fully-vaccinated critical workers are able to leave isolation in exceptional circumstances.
- Every adult in the UK has now been offered a first dose of a Covid-19 vaccine, and proof of vaccination will be required for entry to nightclubs from September. The committee which advises the Government on vaccinations (the JCVI) has recommended that children at risk of being seriously affected by Covid-19 are also offered a vaccine.
- New analysis by the County Councils Network and Tunstall Healthcare highlights the benefits that assistive technology (AT), such as remote health monitoring systems, can have for adult social care - but has found that 69% of county authorities believe that AT is harder to roll out in rural areas compared to cities.
- Last month we wrote about research by Habitat for Humanity and the Empty Homes Network which stated that 44.8% of Cornwall’s housing stock consists of second homes. This figure, cited by their report, is inaccurate – following an intervention by Cornwall Council, the Empty Homes Network has revised the report to give a more accurate figure of 4.95%. Cornwall remains the Local Authority area in England with the largest number of second homes by volume (13,642 homes), but does not have the highest proportion of second homes in the country.
- 29 July is Earth Overshoot Day for 2021, when annual human demand for ecological resources outstrips what Earth can regenerate in that year. If the whole world used resources like the UK, this day would have fallen on 19 May.
- The Future of Local Government, a new report by the County Councils Network and PricewaterhouseCoopers, finds that councils are facing rising demands and declining resources, with the pandemic reducing income while leading to additional responsibilities and associated costs. However, by showing the same resilience and agility demonstrated during the pandemic, the authors suggest that local authorities can empower community groups and make better use of technology, to play a key role in tackling challenges such as the climate emergency. Kate Kennally, Cornwall Council’s Chief Executive, presented at the report’s launch event, showcasing the transformation work Cornwall Council is doing in this space.
- A study by Loughborough University has estimated that over 4.6 million bedrooms in England overheated in summer 2018 (when peak temperatures reached levels likely to be normal in 2050), with overheating more prevalent in households living in social housing, on low incomes or over the state pension age.
View from Westminster
The Prime Minister has set out his vision for levelling up in advance of the Levelling Up White Paper, likely to be published in the autumn. The speech highlighted the UK’s geographically unbalanced economy and place-based differences in life expectancy, access to higher education and child poverty. Levelling up measures will include a £4.8 billion levelling up fund; mortgage guarantees for first-time buyers; and greater availability of different models of devolution.
The newly-published Long-Term Plan to Support the Evolution and Regeneration of High Streets is a key part of the wider levelling up strategy, focusing on making town centres vibrant places to live, work and visit, with the help of Town Deals and proposals for community ownership of pubs, sports grounds and local shops.
Several new planning initiatives have been announced by the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, including the launch of the Office for Place, new National Model Design Code and revised National Planning Policy Framework. The measures aim to put beauty back at the heart of the planning system and to empower communities to help create local design codes.
As summer holidays get underway, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) has published a Tourism Recovery Strategy, warning that some analysts predict UK tourism may not reach 2019 levels of volume and expenditure until 2025. To try to recover earlier than 2025, DCMS suggests measures to improve the tourism industry’s resilience; provide more non-seasonal well-paid employment; and use technology to enhance visitors’ experiences. However, the Rural Services Network is concerned at the lack of rural proofing in the strategy and what it sees as the unequal funding received by rural areas.
The Government’s focus on recovery and renewal can also be seen in the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy’s new Innovation Strategy. The strategy aims to raise public investment in research and development to £22 billion per year; increase private investment; and galvanise public/private sector cooperation by determining “innovation missions” to tackle the most important issues facing the UK.
Deep dive: Ecological Emergency & Nature Recovery
Cornwall’s natural environment is at the core of our identity and heritage, and we vitally depend on it for our health and prosperity. When well managed it provides critical ‘ecosystem services’ like food, clean air and water, and a place to relax and unwind.
Cornwall currently contains…
- Over 40 habitat types.
- 9.9% tree cover, with 2% ancient woodland.
- 5.7% moorland, upland & heathland.
- 1.8% wetlands.
- 74.4% farmland.
- Over 2,400ha of maerl beds and over 120ha of coastal saltmarsh.
- Over 650km of coastline.
- 48,000km of Cornish hedges.
And it has various forms of protections and designations…
- 1.7% of land is in a nature reserve.
- 13% is in a ‘Site of Special Scientific Interest’ or County Wildlife Site.
- 18 Special Areas of Conservation and 3 Special Protection Areas.
- 54 Wildlife Trust sites.
- 34% of our inshore marine area is in a designated protected area.
- 30% of land is in the Cornwall or Tamar Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
But nature is in trouble. There is an ecological emergency, with wildlife in serious decline and habitats being lost and degraded at an unprecedented rate. The outlook globally and nationally is stark…
- The UK is one of the most nature depleted countries in the world – with 41% of UK species having declined since 1970, and a 13% average decline in abundance for ‘indicator’ species.
- 4 of 9 planetary boundaries within which humanity can safely operate have now been crossed.
- A further 31 species went extinct globally in 2020, with over 36,000 threatened with extinction – including all freshwater dolphins.
- None of the 20 global biodiversity targets were met in 2020. The UK self-assessment found it to be failing 14 of them – but RSPB analysis found only 3 were met and 6 had gone backwards. A new global framework will be set this year at the biodiversity summit COP15.
- 133 species have gone extinct in the UK since 1950, and 15% are now threatened with extinction.
- 14/24 UK biodiversity indicators are going in the wrong direction.
And whilst it might look green, the state of nature in Cornwall reflects those downward trends…
- 12% of important species are now threatened with local extinction or complete loss in Cornwall.
- 21 breeding birds and 8 bumblebees have gone extinct in Cornwall since the 1970s.
- Nearly 1/2 of terrestrial mammals and 3/5 of butterflies of are found in fewer places in Cornwall since the 1980s.
- 152km of hedgerow & Cornish hedges have been lost.
- 80,000kg of rubbish was removed from our beaches in 2019.
- Only 21% of land and 7% of our inshore seabed area was in positive management for nature in 2019.
- Only 24% of our rivers and 15% of lakes had a good status for wildlife in 2019.
- Only 5.7% of our emissions were reabsorbed by our environment in 2019.
Nature recovery is vital for tackling climate change, and is a win-win for our health and the economy too…
- A dose of nature has big health benefits. 69% of people in Cornwall visited nature at least once a week in 2018/19, with a rise in appreciation of green spaces following the pandemic. But there are large inequalities in access, especially for children.
- The asset value of the UK’s natural capital is worth around £921bn, and the economic benefits of nature recovery now outweigh the profit potential of their intensive use.
So the evidence is clear that we must support nature on land and at sea to prevent ecological breakdown. To halt the decline we need to enhance nature, not just protect it. Our Environmental Growth Strategy provides a long-term framework to not just conserve, but to grow nature – by ensuring that there is more of it, and that it is bigger, better, more diverse and more joined up. And we’re making progress on delivery:
- · Making Space for Nature is our award-winning programme which has enhanced nature in over 40ha of urban settings across 7 towns.
- · Forest for Cornwall has planted 149,000 trees so far towards its target of an extra 2% of Cornwall’s land area.
- Our Urban Verge Rewilding policy is helping wildflowers to flourish, with a new approach to cutting the 75ha of Council-maintained verges.
- · Making Space for Sand, a new project that will protect sand dynamic dune habitats, a vital sea defence for coastal communities.
But we need to go further. Along with our Local Nature Partnership, our communities and businesses, we can achieve our target that at least 30% of our land and seas are well-managed for nature by 2030. We’ll be engaging later this year on our draft Nature Recovery Strategy – detailing how we can enhance, protect, create and restore a Cornwall Nature Recovery Network.
The Council’s decision-wheel can help guide your consideration of nature. You can also explore ways communities and businesses can get involved – and if you know of any great examples, nominate them for this year’s Cornwall Sustainability Awards.
Want more data?
- Cornwall State of Nature report
- Environmental Growth Key Performance Indicators
- Lagas mapping hub
- South West Ocean Health Index
- Public Health 2019/20 Annual Report: Planetary Health
- UK State of Nature report
- UK Biodiversity Indicators
- The Economics of Biodiversity (UK Dasgupta Report)
- People & Nature Survey
- 5th Global Biodiversity Outlook
- WWF Living Planet Index
- IUCN red list of threatened species
Information in the newsletter is correct at time of writing, 9am on Thursday 29 July.
Welcome to the new format Policy and Intelligence Newsletter, which will explore a different theme each month, giving you data insights, policy analysis and signposts for further reading. There will also be regular sections providing a news roundup and Parliamentary stories of interest. This month’s deep dive looks back at Cornwall’s successful hosting of the G7 summit and considers the event’s lasting legacy.
- As of 28 June a total of 16,596 people in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly have tested positive for Covid-19 since the start of the pandemic. A total of 467 people in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly have died within 28 days of a positive test for Covid-19 since the start of the pandemic (this figure has been revised downwards on the Government’s Covid-19 dashboard since the previous newsletter).
- The Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine has been approved for use in the UK, the first single-dose vaccine to gain approval.
- Research conducted by PHE and the University of Cambridge has found that the UK’s Covid-19 vaccination programme has prevented between 6.4 and 7.9 million infections and 26,000 and 28,000 deaths in England alone.
- The REACT-2 study by Imperial College has found that around two million people in the UK are likely to have experienced Long Covid lasting at least 12 weeks – a third of those infected with the virus. Fatigue, shortness of breath and muscle ache were the most common symptoms.
- The UK medicines regulatory authority, the MHRA, has concluded that the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine is safe to give to children aged 12-15. The Joint Committee on Vaccine and Immunisation will now consider whether older children should be vaccinated as part of the vaccine rollout.
- Last week was Armed Forces Week and Cornwall Council, as part of its commitment to the Armed Forces Covenant, helped to mark the occasion. Chairman of the Council, Cllr Pauline Giles, led a flag raising ceremony at County Hall joined by Armed Forces Lead Member, Cllr Louis Gardner and armed forces colleagues from RNAS Culdrose, RAF St Mawgan, 165 Port and Maritime Regiment and the Royal British Legion. A range of social media posts also helped to promote Armed Forces Day and encourage communities to join with the Council in showing support and gratitude to Cornwall’s armed forces and their families.
- Analysis of the Government’s new planning targets suggests that 11,000 homes will need to be built on rural land in Cornwall in the next five years.
- A report by the Empty Homes Network has identified that 44.8% of housing stock in Cornwall is constituted of second homes, the highest volume of any area in England.
- The deepest pool in the world for sea and space research could be built in Cornwall, after plans for the £150 million “Blue Abyss” project were announced.
View from Westminster
The new Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Sajid Javid MP, has announced that 19 July is still the Government’s target date for ending Covid-19 restrictions.
The Government has launched a new campaign, Together For Our Planet Business Climate Leaders, to encourage small and micro businesses to commit to cutting their greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2030, and to net zero by 2050 or sooner.
The Department for Education has indicated that children returning to school in September will not automatically be asked to self-isolate if they have contact with someone who has tested positive for Covid-19. The latest education attendance figures for England show that Covid-19-related pupil absence in state schools is rising, and is currently at its highest level since March 2021.
A new Government programme to help local people buy their first home has been launched, with a pilot project in the East Midlands. The First Homes Scheme will offer homes with a discount of at least 30% of market price, passed on if the property is sold. More sites will launch throughout the UK this year, with 1,500 homes on the market from the autumn, and plans for at least 10,000 homes per annum in future years.
The First Homes Scheme announcement comes as the House of Lords Built Environment Committee launches an inquiry into demand for new housing in the UK, and how obstacles to meeting demand can be surmounted.
Deep dive: G7 Legacy.
We look back on hosting a hugely successful G7. Not only did Cornwall prove itself to be a beautiful location, but also as an area able to competently run an event of international scale involving not only the world’s leaders but also three generations of monarchy. The event itself had a wide range of successful fringe events including Cornwall Schools' Eco Conference; the Sustainable Growth Conference; Co-creating Cornwall's Future, led by the Voluntary Sector Forum; and the Y7 event for young future leaders. The total economic benefit for Cornwall of hosting the G7 Summit is estimated at £50 million - £24 million during the event itself, and over £26 million from future growth in the international tourist market over the next five years.
To create a longer-term legacy for Cornwall, the Prime Minister announced investment in several of Cornwall’s towns and its natural landscape. These announcements have been framed by Government as the start, not the end, of a new relationship with Cornwall. The Government recognises that they can continue to work closely with Cornish leaders and institutions to deliver the levelling up agenda and make Cornwall the first carbon net zero region of the UK.
- Town Deals worth more than £65 million split between Penzance, St Ives and Camborne which will see the creation of new foot and cycle paths, the restoration of historic buildings and community hubs, and support for local businesses.
- £7.8 million funding provided ahead of the summit for upgrades to Newquay Airport.
- Cornwall’s selection for inclusion in ‘Project Gigabit’, which will bring high speed broadband to around 100,000 homes.
- A major land restoration and regeneration programme across 21,000 hectares of land, with work including restoring peat, making improvements to water quality, recreating scarce habitats and reintroducing lost and declining species.
- These plans will ensure the beauty and biodiversity of Cornwall’s landscape is safeguarded for future generations. They will establish the region as a role model both across the UK and around the world when it comes to looking after the natural environment and significantly support Cornwall’s efforts to become the first carbon net zero region in the UK.
- To further support our work to achieve net zero, up to £1 million of innovation funding has been earmarked for businesses in Cornwall to support their development of technologies, products and processes in energy efficiency, power generation and energy storage.
- Subject to full business case approval Cornwall will also receive up to £150,000 to design and build ‘Kernosat’, a small satellite which will be used to monitor the local environment, with the potential for it to be launched from a UK spaceport next year.
Information in the newsletter is correct at time of writing, 11am on Tuesday 29 June.
The Policy and Intelligence Newsletter will now be issued monthly (on the first weekday of each month) rather than fortnightly, with immediate effect.
- Cost of Living Report - March 2022 (1.85 MB) (pptx)
- Cornwall Council Town Economic Vitality Index March 2022 (2.48 MB) (pdf)
- Impact of COVID-19 on Cornwall - February 2021 (8.41 MB) (pdf)
- Financial Precarity May 2020 (1.05 MB) (pptx)
- COVID-19 Equalities impacts: October 2020 (330 KB) (docx)
- Community Safety Partnership: Peninsula Strategic Assessment 2020-21 (1.58 MB) (pdf)
- The Cornwall We Know: January 2020 snapshot with COVID updates (2.5 MB) (pdf)
- Previous Versions