Yorkshire's town and cities seeing less sense of community, think tank warns
Research by the Onward think tank found that all but two areas in the Northern seats had weathered the storm of the pandemic while the UK had taken a hit.
It found that Kingston-upon-Hull has the weakest social fabric score in the country, and is the sixth least trusting area.
The updated “Social Fabric” scores for the UK measure the strength of communities up and down the country, but showed that areas where this has been the most damaged are in Red Wall areas in the North and Midlands.
This has seen both local economies struggling following the financial instability in the country, as well as community ties coming apart.
Only half of local authorities host a community-owned pub or shop and the proportion of people participating in a local group has fallen by about 11 percentage points.
Worsening economic situations in the seats are driven by rising unemployment and inactivity, as well unstable housing, the report argued, seeing it becoming increasingly difficult for young people to put down roots in their communities.
Despite this, researchers found that many social aspects had weathered the storm of the pandemic, with membership of sports groups, charity work and closeness to neighbours continuing to be strong since the research was conducted in 2020.
However there was a decline in the number of people who say they actively participate in a local group, as well as the share of people who regularly attend religious services falling across the country, by about 5 percentage points.
James Blagden, head of politics and polling at the think tank, said: “The language of levelling up is rooted in restoring a sense of community, but it is difficult to fix what isn’t measured. In this updated Social Fabric Index, policymakers can see how and where communities are struggling.
“While social fabric scores have overall stayed the same, it is the economic strength of some communities that have taken the greatest hit from the pandemic. Our new report provides the data to form a bottom-up approach to fix the frays across society.”
Ailbhe McNabola, director of policy for Power to Change said: “Communities and community businesses play a vital role in creating a stronger and fairer economy - this is evident in Onward’s report. Disadvantaged communities repeatedly bearing the brunt of economic challenges has a detrimental effect on many lives.”