Large Parts of Wales Becoming More Deprived as Recession Hits; POLICY OF FUNDING AREAS NOT INDIVIDUALS QUESTIONED

Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales), December 29, 2011 | Go to article overview

Large Parts of Wales Becoming More Deprived as Recession Hits; POLICY OF FUNDING AREAS NOT INDIVIDUALS QUESTIONED


Byline: CLAIRE MILLER

LEVELS of deprivation are getting worse in large parts of Wales as communities face increasing crime, poorer health and falling educational outcomes.

Analysis of the indicators used to build the Welsh Index of Multiple Deprivation also shows the deprivation gap across Wales is growing.

Across Wales, 95% of areas have seen an increase in the percentage of people claiming income related benefits since 2008, as the economic crisis hits the country.

More than half the Lower Super Output Areas (LSOAs) in Wales - which contain around 1,000 people - have seen an increase in the percentage of the population who have been convicted of a crime and burglary rates have risen in 40% of them.

Educational achievement by Year 6 pupils has dropped in 45% of areas across Wales, and by up to three fifths in Blaenau Gwent.

Two fifths of areas are seeing reduced educational achievement by Year 9 pupils.

The figures suggest a growing deprivation gap in Wales with between a third and a half of the country getting worse results according to the indicators, which cover health, education and environmental factors.

Areas that have high numbers of relatively deprived areas, such as Blaenau Gwent and Merthyr Tydfil, tended to have a higher percentage of LSOAs where the indicators are getting worse.

Conversely, the percentage of areas getting worse in less deprived areas such as Monmouthshire is generally smaller.

Paul Warren, director of policy and planning at Diverse Cymru, questioned how successful funding such as Communities First and European funds, aimed at reducing poverty, had been in targeting areas.

He said funding in this way did not deal with pockets of deprivation within areas and also meant an area could improve enough to lose the funding while still being deprived.

He said: "Rather than on a geographical basis, I'd like to see targeted intervention in getting disabled people back to work, single parents, young people not in education, employment or training - targeting a group of people rather than on a geographic basis.

"If you look at Lisvane (one of the least deprived parts of Cardiff), you have the property rich, but they haven't got much in disposable income, it's quite an old population.

"There are pockets of deprivation even in areas that are perceived to be affluent.

It's targeting the money where the support is most needed. …

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