MP backs devolution as deprivation rises

Graham Allen, MP for Bulwell
Graham Allen, MP for Bulwell

Bulwell MP Graham Allen has welcomed moves to devolve power from Whitehall after Nottingham was named as the eighth most deprived area in the country.

Figures released by the Office of National Statistics (ONS) show deprivation in the city has risen by almost eight per cent in the last five years.

The figures are from the Index of Deprivation, which is published by the ONS every five years, and it means more than a third of neighbourhoods in the city are in the top 10 per cent for most deprived areas.

In 2010, Nottingham was 25th in the table, with 25.6 per cent of the neighbourhoods classed as deprived, meaning in the last five years, deprivation has risen by 7.9 per cent.

Mr Allen said: “These shocking statistics underline the damaging effect that Central Government’s policies are having on my patch.

“Other big cities such as Manchester and Liverpool have seen their figures fall by around five and six per cent respectively, it is not fair on the people of Nottingham to be left behind by insensitive central policies.

“Add to this the reduction in central government grant by half in the last six years and you see how much better off we would be using our resources in the way we know best.”

All 19 councils in Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire, supported by business and the D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership have shown their support for the idea of regions having greater control over their own affairs and being able to help local economies to thrive.

Middlesborough tops the table, with almost 50 per cent of areas in the top 10 per cent, following by Knowsley and Kingston-upon-Hull.

Liverpool, Manchester and Birmingham follow, but despite being large cities like Nottingham, they have managed to turn their fortunes around. Liverpool has seen a decrease of almost six per cent, while Manchester’s deprivation is down by almost five percent.

Mr Allen added: “This is the strongest argument for further devolution, we can make better decisions locally than anyone in overcentralized Whitehall.

“That’s why I welcome the devolution package proposed this week for Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire - with or without an imposed Mayor - as the first of many steps to the full devolution that we need.

“One of the future steps has to be moving power and decision making even more locally, where ever appropriate to our communities and neighbourhoods.

“Replacing Whitehall with town hall will be welcome, but devolution can’t stop there especially if we are to have balanced, healthy, fully employed and sustainable communities.”