2,300 neighbourhoods missing out from record employment despite jobs on the doorstep

Deprived pageNew research has shown deprived areas where jobs are available ‘on the doorstep’, but people living there are unable to access them because they lack the skills to secure the work on offer.

It highlights the areas that need to be included in Theresa May’s plans for an industrial strategy ‘to make Britain work for all’, particularly in the North Powerhouse and the Midlands Engine.

The research is included in a new report on 'Overcoming deprivation and disconnection in UK cities' by Dr Alasdair Rae, Senior Lecturer in Urban Studies and Planning, for the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF).

It found thousands of areas are unable to share in the country’s record employment levels because people living there are disconnected from the jobs on offer, often because they lack the skills to take up the available roles. Health problems and the type and quality of jobs are also barriers.

Dr Rae examined the link between the 20 per cent most deprived neighbourhoods in the UK and the labour market over the last ten years - including areas of Leeds, Sheffield, Bradford, Hull and Barnsley - and found 2,300 areas could be classed as Primary Employment Zones, deprived areas which have high numbers of jobs in them. In Sheffield just over a third of neighbourhoods are deprived, and more than a third of these are geographically disconnected from the labour market.

Dr Rae said: “Our research shows that some poorer neighbourhoods have not been able to fully benefit from the economic growth that has occurred in their wider cities over the past decade.

“This can be seen all across the UK, and particularly in the core cities. In fact, some areas face a kind of ‘double disadvantage’ in that they are not very well connected to local jobs and also not well connected to their local housing market.

“The challenge now is therefore to find ways to ensure that economic growth is more inclusive and that no neighbourhood is left behind. We think specific policy mechanisms are needed to solve this ongoing challenge and hope that our research can make a contribution to that effort.”

Around 12.5 million people live in the 20 per cent most deprived areas. Of these:

2,892 of deprived neighbourhoods overall are in the Northern Powerhouse, a third of the UK total (34.3%)
2,300 are classified as in Primary Employment Zones, deprived areas which also happen to have high numbers of jobs in them – 429 in the Core Cities (the largest cities outside London).

Josh Stott, head of cities at JRF, said: “Cities are engines of growth and many have created significant numbers of jobs in recent years. They have rightly been the focus of attempts to rebalance the economy, but this analysis shows people and places have been left behind, despite seeing rising prosperity on their doorsteps.

“Our research shows how rising employment alone will not tackle entrenched pockets of deprivation. To make Britain work for all, we need to connect growth in cities to deprived neighbourhoods, and an industrial strategy which provides skills that business needs.

“The rewards in return are significant, improving the living standards and opportunities for people on low incomes across the country and helping business improve their productivity. The Treasury and mayors feel the benefit in their coffers from increased tax take by ensuring everyone can contribute.”