‘Shocking’ report reveals 75,000 people in Suffolk in ‘income deprivation’
- Credit: citizenside.com
“Shocking” research shows that parts of Suffolk ranked as some of England’s most deprived over a decade ago have failed to improve – with 75,000 people experiencing ‘income deprivation’.
“Shocking” research shows that parts of Suffolk ranked as some of England’s most deprived over a decade ago have failed to improve – with 75,000 people experiencing income deprivation.
A new Hidden Needs report produced by the University of Suffolk, commissioned by Suffolk Community Foundation, follows earlier studies in 2011 and 2015.
It shows that three-quarters of the most deprived areas in the county in 2007 have seen no significant improvement since then. And in the last 12 years, the county has slipped down the relative deprivation “league table” compared with other parts of the country.
Wages are well below the national average and 75,000 people in Suffolk do experience income deprivation. That is defined as someone earning less than 60% of the national average income (£31,800) so it means someone earning less than £18,480. Most of them live in the county’s larger towns – but 21,000 live in rural areas.
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Three aspects of deprivation which have been constantly more concentrated in Suffolk since 2007 relate to children’s education, accessibility to services and housing quality. Suffolk is over-represented in England’s most deprived 10% for these aspects of deprivation.
What does the report say?
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• Suffolk is ranked 99th most deprived out of 151 upper tier local authorities (mainly county councils) in England – it is among the 40% least deprived upper-tier authorities in England. 60% of English upper-tier local authorities are more deprived than Suffolk
• 22,000 older people in Suffolk are in income deprivation. However, a smaller proportion of older people in Suffolk are income deprived, compared with England generally.
• Across Suffolk, more than 18,000 children experienced income deprivation – around 13% of all children in the county
• In 2019, in Suffolk’s most deprived neighbourhoods, 25% of people on average lived in households experiencing employment deprivation.
• Average wages in the county have persistently fallen below those in England. Average pay in Suffolk in 2019 was £543 a week, compared with £580 in England. In the former Waveney district, East Suffolk, the average weekly wage in 2017 was £115 less than the average for Suffolk, and £151 less than the average for England.
• Between 2007 and 2019, the proportion of Suffolk neighbourhoods among England’s most deprived 10% for health and disability has increased from 1.8% to 3.2%.
• Higher rates of disability and long-term illness are found in districts with greater deprivation. In 2019, there were 6,700 adults in East Suffolk who were out of the labour market because of long term ill health and 5,700 in Ipswich.
• In 2015, 18.4% of Suffolk neighbourhoods were among the most deprived 10% in England for education. By 2019, this had fallen to 14.5% – a significant improvement. However, educational deprivation in Suffolk remains disproportionately high compared with other parts of the country.
• Disadvantaged children in Suffolk schools have poorer attainment than other children. In 2018, 63% of children in Suffolk reached the expected standard at Key Stage 2. For children eligible for free school meals, this dropped to 41%. Disadvantaged children in Suffolk do less well than disadvantaged children in England generally.
• In Suffolk, as in England generally, black pupils are less likely than other children to attain expected levels of attainment at Key Stage 2, or to do as well at GCSEs.
• The proportion of adults in Suffolk with degrees increased from 15% to 25% between 2007 and 2019. However, this proportion has been consistently and significantly smaller than for England generally – and the gap appears to be slowly growing.
• Suffolk is generally safer than elsewhere in England. However, the county has seen a net increase in crime-related deprivation since 2007. Violent crime has increased in England over the last decade and violent crime in Suffolk has increased in line with the national trend.
• Since 2015, Suffolk has ranked more poorly for housing quality compared with England generally.
• In 2019, 25% of rural neighbourhoods in Suffolk were in England’s bottom 10% for housing quality, compared with 11% of urban neighbourhoods in Suffolk. However in generally advantaged rural areas in Suffolk, there are households living in excessively cold homes with the cost of fuel drawing them into poverty and putting their health at risk.
• Average rent in Suffolk is less than the average for England. However, lower cost rent in Suffolk is more expensive than lower cost rent in England. In 2019 the cheapest rents in Suffolk were £25 a week more than the cheapest rents in England.
• Analysis suggests that housing affordability in the county is becoming a more serious issue in rural Suffolk.
Access to services
• Compared with England generally, Suffolk ranks poorly in terms of deprivation related to the accessibility of services. A problem here is that many small villages now have no services or access to public transport – and while they are fine for those with access to a car, for those households without there are serious problems. More than a quarter of Suffolk’s neigbourhoods are in the most deprived 10% of areas in England on this measure.