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Black Country among most deprived UK areas

Sandwell | News | Published:

The Black Country is one of the most deprived areas in the UK, new figures have revealed.

Both Sandwell and Wolverhampton are in the top 20 most deprived areas in the UK, with Walsall coming in 35th and Dudley 79th out of 152.

Sandwell was also ranked the third worst in the UK for education deprivation, fourth worst for income deprivation and fifth worst for employment deprivation.

Meanwhile Wolverhampton was ranked 13th for education deprivation, eighth for income deprivation and sixth for employment deprivation. Walsall was the ninth worst top-tier authority in the UK for education deprivation.

Emma Reynolds, the MP for Wolverhampton North East, said the figures were 'extremely worrying'.

'Extremely worried': Wolverhampton MP Emma Reynolds

She added: "It's one of the things I have been looking on the government to stop making such drastic cuts to the council's budget because in a deprived area it only makes things worse.

"The council need to be able to invest more in education and more in the local services.

"Whitehall is making decisions about the local level without really taking into account that our area needs more help and investment.

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Asked about if deprivation is a problem regularly raised by her constituents, Ms Reynolds said:"It's not something that people like talking about is it? People tend to just get on with their lives.

"But people do struggle to make ends meet and that's bad for all reasons. For example people in the East of the city (Wolverhampton) live about seven years less on average than people in the West.

"I came into politics to help local people and this government seems to have turned their backs on these people."

Bill Etheridge, a UKIP MEP for the West Midlands and a Dudley councillor, blamed the figures on failed Labour policy and said people across the Black Country needed more opportunities.

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UKIP MEP Bill Etheridge was unsurprised

He said: "This comes unfortunately as no surprise because we have had years and years, even decades and decades, of the Black Country being left behind and not properly represented or fought for.

"This shows that the party of the people, the Labour Party, have failed. Tony Blair's Education Education Education is nothing, some of the worst areas in the Black Country for education deprivation are Labour run.

"I think it's entirely down to party politics. Us politicians should be here to improve life for the people – that's certainly what I got into politics for anyway.

"I want to see people getting the opportunity to work to get out of this deprived situation. It's not because the people of the Black Country aren't up it to, far from it. People of the Black Country are some of the best and hardest working people in the country in my opinion.

"It's high time these people got some opportunities."

Overall, Staffordshire ranked 116th, meaning they are one of the least deprived regions in the whole of the UK.

It was also among the best top-tier authorities for income depravity and crime.

Dudley ranked in the lower half of the table for both education depravity and employment depravity but fared better in the other categories.

Manchester was ranked as the worst top-tier authority in the country overall and also the worst for health deprivation.

Other authorities in the top 10 highest deprived areas in the UK included Blackpool, Liverpool, Hackney and Knowsley.

On the other end of the scale, Wokingham was rated as the least deprived area in the UK with Surrey, Windsor and Maidenhead, Rutland and York also scoring well.

The figures are provided by the Office for National Statistics who publish the Index of Multiple deprivation every five years.

They calculate an area's deprivation using income deprivation, employment deprivation, education skills and training deprivation, health deprivation, crime, housing and living environment deprivation.

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