Borough ‘most improved’ on deprivation scale

Lord Smith
Lord Smith

EFFORTS to improve Wigan’s most deprived areas are having the desired impact, town hall bosses have said amid damning government figures.

Council leader Lord Smith has welcomed local authority research which ranks Wigan as one of the country’s most improved areas.

These figures come days after the Evening Post revealed 27 locations across the borough are ranked in the nation’s worst 10 per cent in terms of multiple levels of deprivation.

The town hall has pointed to research from the Special Interest Group of Municipal Authorities (SIGOMA) which shows the borough has dropped from 52 to 63 on its deprivation scale out of 326 local authorities. This places Wigan as the second most improved area.

Lord Smith said: “These statistics demonstrate how far we’ve come in just a short period of time.

“In the last five years, more residents are in employment, have access to housing and training opportunities, earn higher incomes, are living longer and better lives.

“Despite this there’s still much to do to address the uneven levels of deprivation across the borough so we will continue to support residents to live the best life they can by giving them the opportunities and support they need to succeed.” SIGOMA is a special interest group of 45 urban authorities in the northern, midland and south-coast regions of England.

Its deprivation statistics take several factors into consideration, including environment, employment, health, income, education, housing and crime.

And in each area the statistics show that borough has shown signs of improvement.

According to the statistics Bryn had the lowest crime rate and Wigan central the highest employment statistics.

Last week the Evening Post revealed government figures ranking almost 30 neighbourhoods in the borough were among the nation’s worst 10 per cent. A further 30 are within the worst 20 per cent.

Areas close to the town centre, Worsley Mesnes, Pemberton and Marsh Green are among Wigan’s worst affected areas when all categories of deprivation were considered.

Wigan MP Lisa Nandy said government policies were pushing thousands of youngsters across the country into poverty. She said: “If the government is serious about tackling poverty, they should stop their ideological assault on public services and start investing in communities like Wigan by supporting people back into work.”