The gap between people in England’s richest and poorest neighbourhoods is alarming, says a Church of England charity
A Church of England charity has described England as one of the most unequal countries in the western world as research was published showing an “alarming disparity” between the richest and poorest neighbourhoods in the country.
Nine out of 10 of the poorest communities – five of them in Liverpool – are in the north west of England with the 10th in Middlesbrough in the north east, found research by the Church Urban Fund (CUF).
Only two of top 10 least-deprived communities were in the north of England – in Wheldrake, York and Alderley Edge, Cheshire, with Camberley Heatherside, Surrey, heading the list of the least-deprived communities in England.
The findings were calculated at Church of England parish level with an online method devised by the fund using data on life expectancy and poverty rates among children, pensioners and people of working age.
The research showed life expectancy for men in South Shore, Blackpool, was as low as 66 years, with 62% of children and 52% of pensioners living in poverty in Toxteth (east) Liverpool, which ranked as the most deprived community in the country.
In Camberley Heatherside in Surrey, only 6% of children and 3% of pensioners are living in poverty, the research showed. The fund said that the research had shown how close some of the most affluent areas are to communities suffering from extreme deprivation.
An area of Harpenden, Hertfordshire, ranks as the seventh most affluent in the country but is based just six miles from the community of Farley Hill in Luton, one of the most deprived neighbourhoods in England, said the CUF, which works to tackle poverty in England by providing debt counselling and homeless shelters.
Paul Hackwood, chairman of the CUF trustees, said: “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.
“We urge people to go online and try out the tool and find out where their local community ranks in terms of poverty indicators.
“We hope it will create a much greater awareness of poverty in England and bring people from affluent and less affluent areas together to think about what could be done to support those that are living in poverty.”