• February 24, 2015


A new report setting out that many in Cornwall have to subsist on below a living wage has sparked anger. In the article below Michael Chappell of the Kernow Branch says it time for people to become angry about ‘The two faces of Cornwall’

With poverty and low wages a feature of life for many in some of the other Celtic countries the Kernow branch initiative should be looked at by other CL branches:

“When thinking of Cornwall, most from elsewhere in the British Isles think of broad sandy beaches, chic celebrity chef restaurants, beautiful scenery, holiday homes and more recently, a playground for the wealthy Westminster set such as the Prime Minister, who choose the Duchy for their well publicised summer vacations where they are often photographed enjoying caviar and other expensive foods in quaint sea side villages.

The truth however is rather different.

Recent research by Trades Unions with representation in Cornwall reveals that no less than 40% of jobs are paying less than the living wage which is set at just£7.85 an hour outside of the London ‘bubble’.

A breakdown of the research reveals the following below living wage areas:

South East Cornwall 40%
Newquay and St Austell 36%
St. Ives 35%
North Cornwall 35%
Camborne and Redruth 25%

This is in stark contrast to just over the border into Devon where the situation is better. Sadly, the figure for women in Cornwall is even worse.

Tourism has long been held aloft as a solution to all of Cornwall’s economic woes but, important as it is, it has singularly failed to boost earnings and some would say has even added to the low wage, insecure employment economy. Cornwall’s traditional industries of agriculture, food production and fishing are bigger industries in terms of GDP but are no longer mass employers. Meanwhile, a substantial proportion of Cornwall’s GDP haemorrhages across the border and the Duchy receives back far less than it pays out to London.

Cornwall has long called for direct control over European funding which is administered and squandered by quangos far away which have eaten away large sums in bureaucracy and administration costs leaving the ordinary Cornish person seeing little direct benefit.

In 2001, Kevin Cahill of ‘Business Age’ published a hard hitting article entitled ‘The Killing of Cornwall’. He asked, ‘Why is Cornwall getting poorer?’ and gave this answer:

‘One very simple and easily provable answer is because the Government in London is raping the county fiscally. Out of a tiny gross domestic product of £3.6 billion, the Government takes over £1.95 billion in taxes, and puts back into the county less than £1.65 billion, a gap of over £300 million. That latter sum, by itself, all but completely explains the increasing pace of impoverishment in Cornwall. That and the banks and insurance companies.

On the back of the government take, the insurance companies absorb about £200 million of Cornwall’s capital each year and most of them put nothing at all back by way of investment. The banks and building societies soak up what is left of Cornwall’s inadequate capital and at most put back 70p for every £1 they take in deposits. At least that’s what Nigel Blandford, a senior executive of Cornish Enterprise and former Lloyds branch manager in Cornwall thinks.’

In the years which have passed, matters have worsened and Cornwall is now the centre for uncontrolled housing development without any increase in public infrastructure. Already, we are seeing virtual states of emergency declared at our hospitals and by the overstretched public services. This with more cutbacks to come.

Kevin Cahill was correct back in 2001 and he is correct now. Government is raping Cornwall fiscally and this has to stop.

We need more control over our own affairs. After all, those who live here know better of the issues than Westminster Ministers who briefly drop in by helicopter and are then gone again.

Elections are approaching. The Cornwall Branch of the Celtic League calls upon everyone to ask their candidates at Westminster level, what they intend doing about this growing crisis.

Members of the Celtic League whose membership comprises some local Councillors, emergency service workers, writers, teachers, mechanics, agricultural workers, retired people, students, musicians, care workers, businessmen and many others, most of whom work in the community and some of whom assist with emergency food provision, will certainly be doing so.

You can start by writing to your MP completely free of charge via this website:


If you receive electoral leaflets in your letter boxes or speak with candidates, then ask them what they are going to do for Cornwall and in particular, examine their literature to see where it has been printed. If printed locally, it has provided local jobs. If it hasn’t, then ask why not!

The time has come for the people of Cornwall to speak out in the clearest possible terms and to demand a reply to the question of why we are being consistently let down.”

Link here to related article in the Cornishman newspaper:


J B Moffatt (Mr)
Director of Information


(Please note that replies to correspondence received by the League and posted on CL News are usually scanned hard copies. Obviously every effort is made to ensure the scanning process is accurate but sometimes errors do occur).


The Celtic League has branches in the six Celtic Countries. It works to promote cooperation between these countries and campaigns on a broad range of political, cultural and environmental matters. It highlights human rights abuse, monitors all military activity and focuses on socio-economic issues

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