There has been some smug comments from some politicians fallowing the release of the latest government figures on poverty levels. Known as the index of multiple deprivation, the figures give a clue to which are the most well off neighbourhoods and which the worst.
Overall York has fared well over the last couple of years. The York Outer constituency is now ranked 530 out of 533; the same as it was 4 years ago.
York Central has improved its relative position from 339 to 364. (High number is good). This largely reflects the “gentrification” of parts of the City and relatively high employment rates..
However, the overall figures disguise the level of poverty that is concentrated in some parts of the City.
The worst ranked neighbourhood (LSOA E01013443) is the Kingsway West area which includes Windsor Garth.
It is the only York neighbourhood to rank in the bottom 20% in the country.
It fares particularly badly on health, employment and income indicators.
This neighbourhood is in the Westfield ward which itself is rated as the most deprived in the City.
The revelation should come as no surprise to the York Council. Campaigners have been pointing out for the last three or four years that the area was not only being neglected but that key services were being run down.
The local multi user games area (MUGA) was recently closed down and a promised replacement has not materialised. Nearby the Lowfield’s playing field is also being built on while a bowling green has also been lost. The residents association folded a few years ago following complaints that its views were ignored by Councillors.
The neighbourhood does have a disproportionately high number of older people. This can drive down average income levels. It is also true to say that residents are mostly philosophical about their neighbourhood which still retains a good sense of community pride
However, it high time that the authorities – both local and national – made an commitment to regenerate public services for Kingsway residents.