Conservative MP for Falmouth and Truro has called the fact that the low GDP per capita in Cornwall makes it the "poorest" area in England, 'unacceptable'

Mrs Newton asked the House of Commons Library to investigate recent claims arising from a study recently undertaken by the European Union’s statistics authority Eurostat on GDP per capita for all parts of the EU.

The study’s findings claimed that Cornwall "is the UK’s poorest region’" with average wages in the Duchy standing at "£14,300 a year".

After studying the Eurostat figures the House of Commons Library issued the following clarification: ‘‘GDP is the sum of all output produced in a region or country. GDP per capita is used as a measure of living standards. It is not the same thing as wages.

"The Eurostat data show that GDP per capita in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly was €16,200 in 2011 compared to the UK average of €26,400 and the EU average of €25,100."

"This was the second lowest in the UK behind ‘West Wales & The Valleys’ at €16,100.’’ 

‘‘The ONS’s Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings (ASHE) provides the most reliable measure of wage levels in the UK. Estimates from this show that median weekly full-time earnings of people living in Cornwall was £422 in April 2013 (latest data available) – equivalent to about £22,000 a year. The UK average was £518 per week, equivalent to £27,000 a year.’’ This means that the average Cornish weekly wage is £96 lower than the average UK weekly wage.

In 2005 the ONS calculated that the average Cornish weekly wage was £100 lower than the average UK weekly wage.

Mrs Newton said: ‘‘The gap between Cornish GDP and wages and the average figures for the UK as a whole is a matter of serious concern and it is essential that the reporting of it is accurate.

"We are fortunate to be able to call on the independent specialists at the House of Commons Library to establish these facts. The picture these facts paint is clear – over the past ten years the wealth gap between Cornwall and the UK has barely changed. This is despite the investment of nearly £1 billion of taxpayers’ money in Cornwall over the same period though EU programmes."

"This is unacceptable, we have to do better over the next ten years with a long term plan to turn the Cornwall and UK economy around."