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Study reveals deprivation

PUBLISHED: 11:06 04 July 2008 | UPDATED: 20:47 05 July 2010

A detailed picture of deprivation in Suffolk has been revealed by a study which shows areas of poverty even in wealthy towns like Southwold.

The revelations are broken down into individual villages and towns and are the most detailed yet about deprivation in Suffolk.

A detailed picture of deprivation in Suffolk has been revealed by a study which shows areas of poverty even in wealthy towns like Southwold.

The revelations are broken down into individual villages and towns and are the most detailed yet about deprivation in Suffolk. They are already being used to improve county council services, such as highlighting locations for future children's centres, and rural campaigners hope they will be used to rethink policies on rural development and services.

Beccles has some of the most deprived areas in Suffolk: more than 3,000 people, or 24pc of the population, live in areas identified as the most deprived fifth in the region on a range of measures.

Southwold, which has the highest house prices in Suffolk or Norfolk, has 340 people - 9pc of the population - living in the most deprived areas. In Bungay the figure is 21pc, but in Brandon - not traditionally seen as wealthy - the figure is just 2pc.

In Lowestoft, which is well-known to suffer deprivation, nearly half the population lives in one of the region's fifth most deprived areas. More than a quarter of children are in low-income families, and the number of homes without central heating is double the regional average.

Nearly 13pc of people in Suffolk are on benefits, which is slightly higher than the regional average. The Southwold figure is just over 13pc, while in Beccles nearly 15pc of people are on benefits, and in Lowestoft 21pc.

The research has been carried out by Oxford Consultants for Social Inclusion, which did a similar study in Norfolk published last year. That study showed that 46pc of jobseekers' allowance, half of incapacity benefit claimants and 58pc of those with no qualifications were in rural areas, and found areas with low educational achievement and employment even in wealthy Holt. Mundesley was found to be one of the most deprived areas of Norfolk, with low achievement at GCSE and 25pc of children in low income families.

The Suffolk research was commissioned by Suffolk ACRE (Suffolk Action with Communities in Rural England). Its chief executive, Wil Gibson, said: “Previous data has been based on much larger areas of about 1,500 people.

“I did find some of the results surprising. We thought we knew where areas of deprivation were. That raises significant issues about how you understand our commun-ities and how you go about helping them.

“Now we know that 39pc of people with no qualifications in Suffolk live in rural areas. You then have to say 'how do you address that?' They face issues around transport and access - are you going to write them off or do something to help them?”

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