Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Camden has same population now as 1841

Try these datasets from the 2011 Census - Camden has slightly fewer people living here now (220,000) than in 1841, after which the population spiked to a high of 377,000 in 1901 - highlighting Camden's role in railways and manufacturing.

If you compared Camden to municipalities of equivalent size, we'd be a northern town:


Barnsley 231,200
Trafford 226,600
Oldham 224,900
Camden 220,300
Tameside 219,300
Northampton 212,100

Camden rebuilds capital investment programme

While most of the debate around the cuts has been around the withdrawal of revenue (ongoing) support for local services, in Camden we face another major challenge - the withdrawal of capital investment support for the infrastructure.

The capital investment deficit stands at over £1bn for the remainder of the decade, with little or no government money forthcoming.  the lion-share of this is for school and housing repairs, primarily as a result of the cutting of £160m+ of Building Schools for the Future cash and the historic housing repairs deficit.

There are also high bills to meet for community buildings, roads, cycle lanes, libraries, social services and parks.

These are issues we can't ignore - if we don't invest in our infrastructure then these will carry on deteriorating, leaving higher bills for others to pick up.  School buildings in poor condition will look increasingly second rate next to shiny new Academies, and parents will start voting with their feet unless we do something.   

Camden's Community Investment Programme (CIP) was agreed in December 2010 is a radical long-term programme to use the regeneration or sale of the Council‘s public assets and local property holdings (now published online) to improve, shape and transform key places and services within the borough, whilst simultaneously addressing a critical capital funding gap to public services left by the government.

We hope the Programme will make an important contribution to economic growth, tackling inequality, investing in our communities to ensure sustainable neighbourhoods and securing value for money.  See CIP 'Prezi' here.


CIP will be delivered over the next 10-15 years.  However, early progress is important to address current and imminent capital needs and to realise early receipts in order to fund the wider programme and vital investment in Council homes and schools.

The Cabinet has already agreed to prioritise £117million of capital funding for the borough‘s voluntary aided and community schools over a five year period, with the bulk of it between 2012/13 and 2015/16.

Resources have also been allocated to children‘s centres and a forum involving governors, headteachers and diocesan representatives has been set up to discuss allocation of this funding.

The scale of our works are ambitious, and represents one of the biggest self-funded initiatives in the country. They include:


- Over 80 projects - from major regeneration projects to small sites - are planned to start in the next five years
- Major regeneration to Gospel Oak, Maiden Lane (NW1), Bourne (WC1) and Abbey Road (Kilburn) estates.
- £117million will be invested into 57 of the borough's schools and children's centres
- £119million could be invested in Better Homes repairs to 10,000 council homes
- Over 850 new social housing homes built - either for council rent or shared ownership.  The first council homes built since the early 1980s are now being built in Highgate.

Camden is also using its planning process to secure local benefits:  an expanded Kingsgate primary school on Liddell Road in West Hampstead; a new primary school at Netley; a new Argent-sponsored Free School in King's Cross and a new Hawley Primary in Camden Town.

The latest update on progress is here and here - we are now looking at how we develop better buildings for local businesses to support the local economy.

With a fair wind, this will be a Labour council which has rebuilt its own capital investment programme and devised its long term solutions for the people of Camden in the face of the government's ill-judged plan to cut 'shovel-ready' infrastructure projects.

Friday, 27 July 2012

Krugman on austerians in the NYT

Krugman on austerians in the NYT:  "Stop paying attention to the alleged wise men who hijacked our policy discussion and made the deficit the center of conversation. They’ve been wrong about everything..."

Education system fails on Maths and Computer Science


The Lords Committee report on STEM skills in higher education was published this week, with worrying findings on the teaching of Mathematics and Computer Science.  The Labour Party should seize on these statistics and articulate and clearer vision and more fundamental vision for technology and hi-tech skills.    


Without a doubt STEM postgraduates play an important role in driving economic growth by innovation, research and entrepreneurship. It is difficult to see how the UK will  drive economic growth through education and hi-tech industries without more graduates.

The Committee confirmed that many students starting STEM degrees, even those with A-level maths qualifications, lack the maths required to undertake studies in subjects such as engineering and physics and are having to take remedial courses. The lack of key skills extends from too few young people studying maths beyond GCSE to too few students taking postgraduate degrees in science, technology, engineering, computer science and maths subjects. 

Moreover, the rising number of graduates in “soft sciences” e.g. forensic and sport science have soared and that these graduates are less employable than those with degrees in more traditional sciences.

The Committee recommends that Maths should be compulsory for all students post-16 - a rec very unlikely to be achieved without massive investment in teachers, and support for schools.

  
Source:  Department for Education January 2012
('x' denotes data suppressed, but less than 5)
The report also has some findings about on Computer Science.  Over the past decade the number of UK-origin students studying computer science at undergraduate level has dropped by 27% between 2002-03 and 2009-10 (see p. 28).  This is the biggest drop in all STEM subjects.

The worrying drop is unsurprising considering the extremely low level of entries to Computing A-level in our schools.  The chart on the left shows the number of students choosing to do Computing A-level (as of yet there is no such things as Computer Science) in London, a city considered to be a global leader in digital economy - compared to total A-levels taken. 


The 'digital corridor' between Westminster (Soho)-Camden (King's Cross)-Islington-Hackney, home to 'Tech City' and world-leading universities, advertising firms, visual effects, film, music and video games companies, straddles London boroughs in which there are currently only 15 students studying Computing A-level.


This is the same number as Southend.  


The DfE figures from across the country are also poor.  

A combination of factors are at play here:

- At GCSE the ICT curriculum currently (until September 2012) taught  focuses almost entirely on office skills, is a turn off to those who want to know how computer actually work.

- London schools currently lack enough qualified teachers to teach even the existing ICT courses, let alone a new Computer Science course.  Only 29% of teachers are qualified to teach ICT today in inner London schools and 45% in outer London.  As with Maths teachers, the lure of high paid jobs in Finance depresses the numbers of teachers each year. 
 
- There are also serious questions about whether current computing courses are rigorous or adaptable enough.

- The fragmented nature of London education means that each academy and each of the 32 boroughs will have a different approach - or no approach at all.   

Both a cause and effect - there is also a massive gender divide - as with all 'STEM subjects' - nationally only 7% (241) of Computing A-level students are girls.

Previous to the Lords report, the assumption was that students were being advised to study Maths A-level, not Computing.  Yet the report shocking shows that only 39% of Computer Science HE students studied Maths at A-level (Fig 1, p23) – compared with 98% of Physics students. We probably need to question the rigour of ‘Computer Science’ at UK universities as well.


A proper, unified strategy is needed here: from primary school, through universities to the world of work.  Labour must devote resources to teacher training and foster an environment where schools link up with local employers far more than they do now.   

We must also make sure that these skills are open to all, to help state maintained schools get kids from all backgrounds – and both sexes - into the jobs of the future.

Leaving it to the market won't solve this problem, nor will solutions come overnight - but a strategy that sets benchmarks on achievement for 5, 10 and 15 years could reverse this trend - are we up for it?

Thursday, 26 July 2012

Camden 2012 stats on people priced out of inner London by housing welfare changes

In April 2011, 3,384 households were claiming Local Housing Allowance in Camden. 

1,573 were above the new cap and, which - after lobbying of government from councils like Camden, was deferred for 9 months from anniversary of their claim. 

We now have the data of what happened to these households:

This means that in a short space of time, one-third.  33% are no longer claiming LHA in Camden. Their average reduction in LHA was £31/week. 

According to our estimates at the council, we think they could:
  • Have moved out of Camden (we do not know about LHA claims outside Camden)
  • Be meeting rent out of other income sources e.g. from employment
However, we also know that of the 1,104 no longer claiming LHA in Camden:
  • 49% were already workless
  • 36% are under 35
  • 19% have children
It is likely with these cohorts that, barring a swift change in fortune in an area with the 4th highest rents in the country and high ratio of claimants-to-job-vacancies, people have been priced out of Camden.

Not just that, but there has been churn inside of Camden for those continuing to claim LHA, with areas closer to the centre of London becoming more unaffordable for low income households - and a noticeable shift towards properties off the Kiburn High Road.

In other words, more 'doughnutting' at a more granular level. 





Thursday, 19 July 2012

Latest stats: youth unemployment and vacancies in Camden and London

Last night Camden's Cabinet agreed £2m towards promoting jobs and growth via our 'Camden Plan', extra money redistributed via the council's efficiency programme over the last year.

Latest ONS stats show that long-term youth unemployment (people aged 18-24 claiming JSA for over 12 months from June 2011 to June 2012) has nearly quadrupled in Camden from 50 last year to 195 last month.  The Guardian's datablog provides an interactive map.

Per electoral constituency, the claimant to vacancy rate makes for interesting reading locally.  In Holborn &St.Pancras, demographically (and historically) the poorer part of the borough, the claimant to vacancy ratio is 3.5:1; while in Hampstead and Kilburn this rises to 9.9:1.


London constituency
Vacancies
Claimants
Claimants per vacancy
Barking
665
4,564
6.9
Battersea
298
2,423
8.1
Beckenham
164
1,154
7.0
Bermondsey and Old Southwark
798
4,310
5.4
Bethnal Green and Bow
391
5,403
13.8
Bexleyheath and Crayford
493
1,753
3.6
Brent Central
476
5,715
12.0
Brent North
429
2,579
6.0
Brentford and Isleworth
570
2,155
3.8
Bromley and Chislehurst
449
1,779
4.0
Camberwell and Peckham
199
5,656
28.4
Carshalton and Wallington
318
2,013
6.3
Chelsea and Fulham
274
1,741
6.4
Chingford and Woodford Green
153
2,060
13.5
Chipping Barnet
255
2,046
8.0
Cities of London and Westminster
3,484
2,012
0.6
Croydon Central
601
3,257
5.4
Croydon North
441
5,366
12.2
Croydon South
276
2,076
7.5
Dagenham and Rainham
405
3,470
8.6
Dulwich and West Norwood
176
4,059
23.1
Ealing Central and Acton
728
2,871
3.9
Ealing North
462
2,937
6.4
Ealing, Southall
360
2,902
8.1
East Ham
365
4,940
13.5
Edmonton
286
4,624
16.2
Eltham
111
2,253
20.3
Enfield North
634
3,391
5.3
Enfield, Southgate
396
1,977
5.0
Erith and Thamesmead
507
3,444
6.8
Feltham and Heston
432
2,659
6.2
Finchley and Golders Green
261
2,138
8.2
Greenwich and Woolwich
1,097
3,676
3.4
Hackney North and Stoke Newington
50
4,640
92.8
Hackney South and Shoreditch
419
5,488
13.1
Hammersmith
485
3,590
7.4
Hampstead and Kilburn
329
3,269
9.9
Harrow East
212
1,674
7.9
Harrow West
479
2,082
4.3
Hayes and Harlington
1,220
2,723
2.2
Hendon
581
2,563
4.4
Holborn and St Pancras
1,038
3,589
3.5
Hornchurch and Upminster
261
2,176
8.3
Hornsey and Wood Green
259
3,570
13.8
Ilford North
289
2,097
7.3
Ilford South
241
3,876
16.1
Islington North
179
3,706
20.7
Islington South and Finsbury
642
3,098
4.8
Kensington
255
2,532
9.9
Kingston and Surbiton
591
1,501
2.5
Lewisham East
450
3,578
8.0
Lewisham West and Penge
177
3,806
21.5
Lewisham, Deptford
443
4,387
9.9
Leyton and Wanstead
221
3,478
15.7
Mitcham and Morden
260
2,838
10.9
Old Bexley and Sidcup
170
1,079
6.3
Orpington
229
1,362
5.9
Poplar and Limehouse
527
5,196
9.9
Putney
153
1,558
10.2
Richmond Park
318
1,092
3.4
Romford
683
2,074
3.0
Ruislip, Northwood and Pinner
210
987
4.7
Streatham
132
4,198
31.8
Sutton and Cheam
308
1,378
4.5
Tooting
139
2,253
16.2
Tottenham
411
6,437
15.7
Twickenham
366
1,115
3.0
Uxbridge and South Ruislip
576
1,637
2.8
Vauxhall
661
4,418
6.7
Walthamstow
451
4,591
10.2
West Ham
2,050
6,357
3.1
Westminster North
124
2,960
23.9
Wimbledon
529
1,037
2.0


Claimant count and Jobcentre vacancies by constituency, June 2012
Source: ONS via NOMIS