Fraser Nelson

Revealed: Britain’s welfare ghettos

Revealed: Britain’s welfare ghettos
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Rabbi Lionel Blue talks about a “moral long-sightedness” of politics – the ability to see problems thousands of miles away (in Africa) or a century away (climate change) but not the poverty in one’s own doorstep, right now. And little wonder: England is very poor at measuring just how bad things are for its poorest. For example, we know from local authority data that one in four of people are on benefits in Liverpool. But that’s an amalgam of rich and poor areas. The welfare ghettos – areas where entire streets are on incapacity benefit – have been obscured. Until now.

 

The Department of Work and Pensions has been for a while producing welfare data in so-called “Lower Super Output Areas” – zones of about a thousand working-age people within wards. Only now has the Office of National Statistics also produced corresponding population data. They kindly sent me a breakdown of this in working-age population, so I can produce the key ratio: share of working-age people on benefits. It’s in my News of the World column today (not online): the first time, as far as I know, that figures have ever been produced in this detail allowing us to identify the welfare ghettos.

 

So next time Gordon Brown talks about “creating three million new job” remember this. His strategy has been to rely on immigrants (who account for 2m of those 3m new jobs – see PDF p6) while keeping at least 5 million Brits on welfare. It’s madness: and no way to run an economy. Immigration allowed Brown to grow the economy without tackling welfare reform, the toughest task in politics.

 

I’ve been quite impressed with James Purnell’s announcements, even though I suspect he’s trying to catch up with the even more impressive blueprint the tireless Chris Grayling has laid out for the Tories. But more of that later. For now, here is Labour’s shame: the longest period of uninterrupted economic growth for two centuries, as Brown loves to remind us, and the result? This:-

   Area name and code                    Within ward               % on o/w benefits

Rochdale 010C

Central and Falinge

70%

64%

Middlesbrough 001C

Middlehaven

67%

62%

Liverpool 023A

Breckfield

66%

55%

Manchester 009C

Harpurhey

65%

53%

Liverpool 039D

Granby

62%

44%

Liverpool 024B

Breckfield

62%

53%

Swansea 025A

Castle

62%

71%

Liverpool 014E

Vauxhall

60%

58%

Wirral 016A

Birkenhead

60%

51%

Leicester 018F

Spinney Hills

60%

30%

Blackburn with Darwen 006E

Wensley Fold

60%

63%

Wirral 011C

Bidston

59%

55%

Great Yarmouth 006D

Nelson

59%

50%

Birmingham 071D

Sparkbrook

59%

39%

Liverpool 022A

Melrose

58%

56%

Sefton 037B

Linacre

58%

54%

Blackpool 007C

Park

58%

59%

Denbighshire 004E

Rhyl West

58%

60%

Liverpool 059C

Speke

57%

44%

Liverpool 024C

Everton

57%

49%

Liverpool 022D

Vauxhall

57%

56%

Wirral 016E

Birkenhead

57%

60%

Wear Valley 008E

Woodhouse Close

57%

58%

Liverpool 023C

Everton

56%

57%

Knowsley 010B

Longview

56%

54%

Written byFraser Nelson

Fraser Nelson is the editor of The Spectator. He is also a columnist with The Daily Telegraph, a member of the advisory board of the Centre for Social Justice and the Centre for Policy Studies.

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