New analysis reveals the threat of poverty across Yorkshire

MP Rachel Reeves
MP Rachel Reeves
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PRESSURE IS growing on the Government to accelerate efforts to rebalance the economy after new figures underlined poverty levels in the North.

Analysis by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) showed the risk of being in poverty was highest in constituencies in the North and Midlands.

Of the 50 English constituencies where the risk of poverty was judged highest, 10 were in the Yorkshire and Humber region.

The analysis, based on figures for benefit claims and tax credits, showed Bradford West was the constituency with the highest poverty risk in the region.

Bradford East and Sheffield Brightside and Hillsborough were also among areas where families face the biggest risk of poverty.

A poll conducted by JRF found just 28 per cent of people in Yorkshire thought they could meet their financial commitments for a month if they lost their job.

Almost a third thought their family was at risk of falling into poverty.

Leeds West MP Rachel Reeves said: “The Tories promised to rebalance the economy, but they have completely failed to deliver on that, leaving too many people here reliant on insecure, low-paid jobs.

“This is all the more concerning as we continue to monitor the economic impact of the referendum result – we know all too well that if there is a downturn it will be people already struggling to make ends meet who will be hit hardest.

“After six years of failure, no one is going to believe this Tory government has the will or the ability to confront this issue, but they should be listening carefully to the recommendations of this report and taking action.”

Since taking office, Theresa May has committed to continue the ‘northern powerhouse’ drive launched by former chancellor George Osborne and told The Yorkshire Post last month she wanted to “drive this county forward”.

But she is facing calls to make speeding up efforts to close the North-South divide a priority for her administration.

A Government spokesman said: “We’re determined to build a Britain that works for everyone and we now have record numbers of people in work, falling unemployment and wages rising faster than inflation.

“But we know there is much more to do, which is why we have increased the National Living Wage, taken millions of people out of paying any income tax and our welfare reforms are ensuring it always pays to be in work.

“We also continue to spend £80bn on working age benefits to ensure a strong safety net for those who need it most.”

The study was released by the JRF as it prepares to launch a new strategy to tackle poverty tomorrow.

Helen Barnard, head of analysis at JRF, said: “This analysis shows how poverty affects people right across the Yorkshire and Humber region, from its rural idylls to former industrial heartlands.

“It shows we need to get to grips with poverty in every town and city, which means the government, mayors and town hall leaders, businesses and communities working together.”

THE JOSEPH Rowntree Foundation analysis reveals the stark poverty divide across Yorkshire.

While people living in parts of the region are among those at highest risk of poverty in the country, other Yorkshire constituencies are among the lowest.

People living in Sheffield Hallam are at the lowest risk of poverty in Yorkshire.

York Outer and Haltemprice and Howden are among the other areas of Yorkshire in the bottom 50 for poverty risk in England.

However constituencies in the South-East, East and London dominate those where poverty is at its lowest.