The 39 North East neighbourhoods set to suffer most as a result of coronavirus have been named.
But they are also missing out on government funding designed to help communities recover from the pandemic – because the cash tends to go to town and city centres.
The 39 areas have been named in a new report by MPs from different parties, led by Sedgefield MP Paul Howell.
They say that 11% of working-age adults are now claiming unemployment benefits in these areas, compared to 6.5% across England as a whole.
And youth unemployment in these areas is 16.8%, compared to 9% in England generally.
These areas had high levels of high-risk health conditions before the coronavirus crisis began.
For example, 14% of the population are obese, compared to 10% of the population generally.
MPs said 24% of people in “left behind” areas had a serious long term illness or disability before coronavirus, compared to 18% across England as a whole, while 10% receive disability benefits, compared to 6% of people in England.
The areas most at risk are:
Biddick and All Saints
Simonside and Rekendyke
Craghead and South Moor
Shildon and Dene Valley
Shotton and South Hetton County Durham
Trimdon and Thornley
Newbiggin Central and East
These areas are named in a report produced by the All-Party Parliamentary Group for “left behind” neighbourhoods.
It says they face a combination of deprivation, a lack of social facilities and low levels of community activity, and already had relatively worse health, education and employment outcomes before the pandemic. There are 225 “left behind” areas in total across England, according to MPs.
The data, compiled by Oxford Centre for Social Inclusion (OCSI) and charity Local Trust, gives an early suggestion that these areas, often located on the edge of towns and cities, risk falling further behind as government investment focuses on delivering improvements to town and city centres.
Organisations in these neighbourhoods received less than half the funding per head in Covid-related grants than other deprived areas, and around a third of the average levels of England as a whole.
The All-Party group will examine ways to support these communities to ensure they are more resilient and have better prospects in the future.
Sedgefield Conservative MP Paul Howell MP, chairman of the all-party group, said: “It’s so important that the voice of these communities, home to just under 2.4 million people, is listened to.”
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Washington and Sunderland West Labour MP Sharon Hodgson, an officer of the group, said: “Covid has had a devastating impact on communities across my constituency, with this research shining a light on the urgency of acting to help those hardest-hit.
“Yet, at such a difficult time, it has been so heart-warming to see communities come together to support one another and to help those who have been isolated and left vulnerable.
“We must harness this community spirit, and ensure that ‘left behind’ neighbourhoods are given the resources that they need to thrive as well.”