Page last updated at 13:02 GMT, Wednesday, 14 October 2009 14:02 UK

Support for high-pressure areas

By Dominic Casciani
BBC News

A row of boarded up terraced houses for sale
Housing competition: Perception of unfairness being targeted

The government is naming 27 areas which it says need intensive support to survive pressures from recession, migration and social change.

Communities Secretary John Denham said the areas would be targeted to help residents understand they had not been forgotten by decision-makers.

A full list of 130 areas is being finalised over the coming months.

The move comes amid internal government debates about how best to reach out to disenchanted white working classes.

The areas, some as small as a housing estate, have been identified from economic data, broader measures of what local people think and analysis from local officials.

North West: Blackburn with Darwen, Cheshire West & Chester, Cumbria and Liverpool
North East: Sunderland and Gateshead
Midlands: Birmingham, Stoke, Nottingham, Leicester and Lincoln
South West: Poole, N Somerset and Swindon
South/London: Milton Keynes, Bexley, Bromley and Barking and Dagenham
East: Broxbourne and King's Lynn
Yorks/Humber: North Lincolnshire

Many of the areas to be targeted are predominantly white and working class where traditional jobs have gone amid dramatic social changes.

Some have seen a rise in far-right political activity or long-term anti-social behaviour problems.

Others have seen a collapse in trust in local authorities and services and resentment over the arrival of Eastern European workers. In all cases, existing funding and regeneration plans have not led to a change in perceptions.

Mr Denham said £12m would be spent across the areas to work out exactly why people in these areas feel aggrieved and under pressure.

He said he wanted to combat a perception that some areas were favoured over others in a competition for resources.

Mr Denham called on people in the targeted areas to speak out, even if their fears raised "difficult and uncomfortable issues".

I knocked on a few doors, most never opened - suspicion and resentment oozed from the cracks between front doors and frames on New Parks

He said: "These are communities that are under a great deal of pressure, they have certainly had a lot of money invested in them but lives have changed.

"Work has changed, migration may have changed the communities, people feel that there a lot of competition for social housing and other resources in the community."

The initiative comes amid continuing pressure from some town halls for help in how to deal with massive social change in areas which have never had to deal with it before.

Some councils have told government they have struggled to maintain the confidence of local people who feel they had been left behind as policymakers have appeared to focus on the needs of incomers.

Mr Denham denied these areas had been largely "forgotten" by policymakers, but acknowledged that some were susceptible to extremist far-right recruitment if people's grievances were not dealt with.

"These are areas where we know that people will often say, I'm not sure that someone is speaking up for us, does anyone really understand what is happening to our lives."

"We have to demonstrate that people do and that we are on the side of every community in this country, no special favours, privileges, just fairness."

Map of deprived regions

Number Local authority name Ward name Number Local authority name Ward name
1 Broxbourne Bury Green Ward 15 Cheshire West & Chester Ellesmere Port
2 King's Lynn North Lynn 16 Cumbria Cleator Moor
3 Leicester New Parks 17 Liverpool Speke
4 Lincoln Abbey Ward 18 Birmingham Kingstanding, Stockland Green & Erdington
5 Nottingham Aspley 19 Birmingham Druids Heath, Brandwood Ward
6 Barking & Dagenham River 20 Birmingham Bartley Green & Weoley
7 Barking & Dagenham Becontree 21 Stoke Blurton
8 Barking & Dagenham Thames 22 Stoke Burslem & Shelton
9 Barking & Dagenham Heath 23 Milton Keynes Tinkers Bridge, Woughton Ward
10 Bromley Cray Valley & Mottingham 24 North Somerset Weston-Super-Mare Central Ward
11 Bexley Colyers & North End 25 Poole Bourne Valley, Rossmore
12 Gateshead Felling 26 Swindon Park Ward, Walcot East
13 Sunderland Castle, Redhill & Southwick 27 North Lincolnshire Caistor Road Estate, Barton ward
14 Blackburn with Darwen Little Harwood

Print Sponsor

The whitest place in England
06 Mar 08 |  Magazine
Who are the white working class?
14 Mar 08 |  Magazine
White working class 'losing out'
22 Jan 09 |  Education

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific