Grim picture of resort’s poverty

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BLACKPOOL has some of the poorest areas in the country according to new Government figures which paint a grim picture of the town.

Three areas of the resort are among the 10 most deprived neighbourhoods in England with levels of underprivilege 17 per cent worse than three years previously.

The worst pockets of poverty are around Revoe, Queens Park and Grange Park.

Blackpool is ninth in a table of local authorities with 37 per cent of small neighbourhoods among the most deprived.

Streets west of the Revoe area are ranked third in a list of England’s most deprived areas, followed by the area east of Grange Park and west of Normoss in fifth place, while south of Queenstown is ranked eighth.

The Indices of Multiple Deprivation have been compiled using statistics for income, employment, health, disability, crime and living standards with 32,382 neighbourhoods ranked in total.

Around 1,500 people live in each area ranked. Transience and lack of government support were today blamed for the situation.

Blackpool Council leader Coun Peter Callow said: “People arrive on our doorstep from other towns who are destitute and they bring their children with them, and have all sorts of problems.

“They come to Blackpool because there is accommodation here and it’s a place many know from their childhoods.

“We have a responsibility to these people which we take seriously. However it puts a tremendous strain on resources.

“If this is the situation in Blackpool, why were we docked £27m off our budget by this coalition government?

“We should have extra money to allow us to deal with it.”

Coun Callow added work was being done to tackle deprivation with schemes including the building of new social housing, help for first time buyers to get on the housing ladder and drawing in private investment to create employment.

Gwen King, chairman of Queens Park Residents Association, warned cuts to services would hit those already living in poverty.

She said: “With cuts to services affecting children, adults and housing, and changes to benefits, it isn’t going to get any better.

“Having Lidl here has given people access to fresh, quality, affordable food but when people have only got so much money, it is difficult for them.”

The figures come only a month after Blackpool was ranked ninth worst in the country for child poverty according to a report by charity Save the Children with 22 per cent of children suffering hardship.