Wealth divide still growing in ‘Yorkshire of two halves’

Divided Yorkshire: Street scenes in Hull and Harrogate

Divided Yorkshire: Street scenes in Hull and Harrogate

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A STARK divide between the wealthy and the poor in a “Yorkshire of two halves” is revealed by The Yorkshire Post today.

As Government cuts continue to bite, the divide is widening, with the poorest communities in Yorkshire hit hardest and calls made for urgent action by Westminster.

For the first time, we have teamed up with Leeds-based consumer information experts, Callcredit, to harness the power of ‘big data’ to provide detailed insights into living standards in Yorkshire.

‘Big data’ is a term used to describe large and complex data sets from different sources which can offer unprecedented insight when brought together and subjected to detailed analysis.

Callcredit examined latest available ward-by-ward data on house prices, social grade (a socio-economic classification which differentiates people in terms of attitudes and behaviours), economic activity, general health, deprivation and unemployment.

In this special report, analysis by The Yorkshire Post shows the stark contrast between places such as Harrogate and Hull.

Washburn, west of Harrogate, tops the table for house prices for example, with an average sale price of £576,048 in 2012, while St Andrew’s, which borders the Humber in Hull, was at the opposite end of the spectrum with an average house price of £54,036.

Some areas of North Yorkshire such as the Bishop Monkton area, which is south of Ripon, and Killinghall, which is just north of Harrogate, contained a maximum of two claimants of Jobseeker’s Allowance.

These parts of the region contrast sharply with Hull’s St Andrew’s area, and Myton, encompassing the city centre, which were among the worst-performing areas in Yorkshire by this measure, with claimant rates of 8.6 per cent and 7.2 per cent respectively.

David Blunkett, Labour MP for Sheffield Brightside and Hillsborough, argued that in terms of capital investment in infrastructure there is a tenfold difference between what is now being invested in London and the South-East compared to Yorkshire per head of population.

Meanwhile, Harrogate’s Pannal and Rossett areas in the south of the town are among the least deprived parts of Yorkshire.

David Spencer, professor of economics and political economy at Leeds University Business School, said the data suggests that Yorkshire and the Humber is a “divided and unequal region”.

Andy Peloe, technical consultant at Callcredit, said: “I think you’ve got a Yorkshire of two halves really. You talk about a North-South divide but you’ve got a divide in Yorkshire.”

Paul Blomfield, Labour MP for Sheffield Central, claimed that under the five years of this Government the 25 most deprived local authorities in England will lose 10 times the amount in spending power per household compared to the 25 least deprived local authorities. He said: “This important analysis shows the range of challenges and pressures, from ill-health to unemployment, that are affecting communities in the big cities of Yorkshire.”

Councillor Daren Hale, deputy leader of Hull City Council, claimed that the cuts to funding have disproportionately affected northern, urban types of council.

However, Local Government Minister Brandon Lewis said the Government’s “carefully considered reforms have delivered a fair deal to councils helping them achieve greater financial independence so they can deliver sensible savings while protecting front-line services”.

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