Express area 'most deprived'

KINSLEY, Hemsworth, South Kirkby and South Elmsall have been named in a council report as some of the most poverty-stricken places in the country.

The Wakefield Council report revealed the levels of deprivation in the south east of the district, along with plans to carry out a local economic assessment next year.

The assessment, which will be carried out as part of a government initiative, will aim to help businesses and allow people to take advantage of financial opportunities.

It will be used as the basis of a strategy to regenerate rural areas of the city.

The report, which was considered by the council's local economy overview and scrutiny committee yesterday, showed the area of Kinsley to the west of Wakefield Road to be the most deprived area in the district during 2007. It was also in the top one per cent of most deprived areas in the UK.

Hemsworth was in the top three per cent most deprived across the country and South Kirkby and parts of South Elmsall were in the top 10 per cent.

The levels were based on a number of factors, including income, employment, crime, access to health services and education, skills and training provision.

Hemsworth MP Jon Trickett said: "The extra money which has gone into education, training, health and policing has helped some of the worst excesses of deprivation in our area.

"Extra investment in healthcare facilities, early years education, increased family allowance, tax credits, employment and training initiatives have a part to play, but a new radical approach has to be taken to get to the bottom of why some people cannot break out of the cycle of low educational attainment, unemployment and poor health."

Coun Ian Womersley said: "I do think things have improved since 2007, but levels of unemployment have not seen any changes. We need to attract business to the area and help create jobs and apprenticeships for young people."

Wakefield Council leader Coun Peter Box said: "The assessment will help strengthen and regenerate those parts of the district and to ensure their rural nature is enhanced to benefit residents, to retain and attract investment, tackle deprivation, improve access to services, improve the natural, cultural and built heritage and benefit the district as a whole.

"This is a long-term project and we are in the very early stages of this process but we hope it will become an important part of our broader regeneration strategy for the district."

To find out more about economic opportunities call the Wakefield economic helpline on 0845 1242009 between 8am and 6pm.