Revealed: the most deprived area in England
So what has gone so wrong here, and where else makes the list?
Most deprivedThe list of multiple deprivation, released by the department today on the data.gov.uk website, brings together details on employment and income in order to produce a deprivation scale. It reveals the top ten as:
Birkenhead North (Wirral)
East Jaywick (Tendring)
North Huyton (Knowsley)
It's the fifth year running that the Falinge estate has taken this particular title. It suffers from a very high unemployment rate, with 72% of people claiming unemployment benefits and 71% in low-income households.
But why?Traditionally the area was dominated by the cotton mills, which were destroyed by global competition a generation ago, and there has been little alternative employment starting up in the area since.
There are few large employers, the dominant manufacturers are in decline, and the recession has hit small and medium-sized businesses hard. Government figures show there are simply fewer businesses in Rochdale than in a typical UK town.
It is also an established market town. However, the high street is struggling too. It has gradually seen closure after closure, and some saw the departure of McDonalds in 2010 as a final nail in the coffin.
CriticismThe council has launched a major plan for regeneration, but it has come under criticism locally for not bringing in new developments and investments quickly enough.
Rochdale's Labour Parliamentary Candidate, Simon Danczuk, has been an outspoken critic. He said: This latest table for the most 100 deprived areas in England makes very depressing reading for Rochdale."
The council, meanwhile, argues that the number of job seekers in Rochdale is falling faster than the UK average, and that regeneration projects underway include a new school for the Falinge estate.
Councillor Peter Williams, Cabinet Member for Economic Development, said of the employment figures: "This is very welcome news and testament to the great work that is already underway to help residents into work. However, we're not resting on our laurels. There are still too many people looking for work and we'll continue to focus on attracting further new investment to the borough to secure new employment opportunities for local people."
The same list shows that the least deprived areas of the UK are Little Eriswell in Suffolk, followed by RAF Lakenheath in Suffolk and Tyler Hill in Canterbury.