North-west home to poorest in England

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Nine out of 10 of the poorest areas in England are in the north-west, findings from a church charity reveal.

Areas in Greater Manchester, Liverpool and Lancashire are the worst-affected by poverty according to the study by The Church Urban Fund (CUF), which also found a shocking disparity in life expectancy between Britain's poorest and wealthiest regions.

The list was complied using the charity's online poverty indicator tool, which combines government statistics from a number of areas, including life expectancy and child poverty. The results are displayed using the CofE parish system.

CUF chair Paul Hackwood said he hoped the data would "create a much greater awareness of poverty in England".

Liverpool features most heavily in the list, with five areas featured in the top ten, including Toxteth West, which has up to 64% of children and 63% of pensioners living in poverty.

Greater Manchester features three times, with Shaw Road in Oldham, Kirkholt in Rochdale and Manchester's Collyhurst all included.

Cannon Park in Middlesbrough was the only community outside the North West to feature in the bottom ten.

Life expectancy
The study found a wide north-south divide in life expectancy, with those in England's most deprived areas living up to 20 years less than those in affluent Southern parishes.

South Shore in Blackpool showed the lowest male life expectancy, at an average of 66 years. Women from Toxteth and Everton in Liverpool can expect to live to 74, while their counterparts in Comberton, Cambridgeshire, have an average life expectancy of 94.

"We live in one of the most unequal countries in the Western world, where babies born within a few miles of one another can have widely differing life expectancies – of 10 years or more," said Hackwood.

Government cuts
Councillors in the deprived areas blame the Government's cuts at a time when costs are rising for many families, yet income is dropping or remaining flat. A report from the Joseph Roundtree Foundation back in January supports the view that the poorest in society are the hardest hit by public sector cuts.

Glen Bramley, author of the report Serving deprived communities in a recession, said: "Despite some services used by all groups being significantly reduced, the impact of service provision cuts will fall more heavily on disadvantaged people who rely on public services. Unlike the more well-off, they are less able to supplement the loss of public services (such as childcare, libraries and youth clubs) with private provision."

Growing problem
Poverty in the UK and throughout the EU is measured by those living on less than 60% of the median income, adjusted for the size of the household.

More and more young adults now find themselves in poverty, with youth employment reaching an all time high. One million 16-24 year old are now out of work – more than three times the rate for older workers.

In the Commons last week, David Miliband warned of the "massive problem" of long term youth unemployment. He said that 260,000 young people have been unemployed for more than a year, with a further 200,000 unemployed for more than six months – a situation that is getting worse.

England's most deprived areas
• Toxteth East, Liverpool
• Shaw Road, Oldham
• Anfield, Liverpool
• Collyhurst, Manchester
• Kirkholt, Rochdale
• Toxteth West, Liverpool
• Heyworth Street, Liverpool
• Queens Road, Liverpool
• South Shore, Blackpool
• Cannon Park, Middlesbrough

Source: Church Urban Fund

Check the poverty level in your local area using the tool on the Church Urban Fund website.

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