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Last Updated: Thursday, 6 May, 2004, 18:30 GMT 19:30 UK
MP defends 'most deprived suburb'
Street in Harpurhey, Manchester
Lack of investment has been blamed for Harpurhey's problems
A Manchester MP has criticised a government report that says Harpurhey is the most deprived place in England.

Of the 32,482 neighbourhoods assessed in the study, the seven most deprived areas are in the North West.

Labour MP for Manchester Blackley, Graham Stringer, said although he did not underestimate the area's problems, Harpurhey was a suburb on its way up.

He said there had been new investment particularly in housing and healthcare facilities.

"Harpurhey is a very solid community, there is lots happening," he said.

"But not everything is perfect. It is on the way up, and the problem with a report like this is that it can give an area a reputation.

Graham Stringer, MP for Manchester Blackley
Harpurhey is a very solid community, there is lots happening
Graham Stringer, MP for Manchester Blackley
"It is very depressing for those that are doing their best for the community.

"These are the places that bore the brunt of the removal of funds during the Thatcher years.

"The fact that there are inner city areas like Harpurhey that didn't get the investment that they needed in the 80s and 90s is due to that Conservative government, and it takes a long time to put that right."

After Harpurhey, Everton in Liverpool, central Manchester and Abercrombie in Liverpool were found to be among the worst places in England to live.

Chorleywood West, in Hertfordshire, came out on top, followed by Crowthorne in Berkshire.

The study was based on factors such as income, health, crime and living environment.

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