Shameless council estates on the sink

SHOCKING statistics have revealed sinking levels of social deprivation in some of Dewsbury’s council estates, making them amongst the worst in the country.
They reveal a ‘lost’ generation of young people with some of the very worst educational, training or skills levels – and which are getting worse. Now one councillor has challenged people living in a culture of benefit dependency to aim higher.
On the Hazel/Walnut/Maple estate in Chickenley, the educational attainment of young people is amongst the worst 0.1% in England – the specific area is rated 27th worst out of  over 32,000 highly localized identified ‘super output areas’ in the nation.
This week Dewsbury East councillor Paul Kane pulled together Kirkleeswide top executives and officials for a meeting in Chickenley to look at what was going so drastically wrong.
“I was born and bred here,” said Coun Kane. “Education was the path to a better life for me and my family.
“This isn’t about money. Never has so much money been put into education. But we are seeing second and third generations of people for whom work is not an ethic. And we have to change that somehow.”
The startling figures are revealed in the 2010 ‘super output area’ statistics compiled by local authorities across the country and which judge a series of factors that contribute to ‘deprivation’ – from crime and elderly poverty, to education, living conditions, employment and health/disability.
Overall the ‘Hazel’ end of Chickenley is in the bottom 2.1% in the country when all the factors are weighed in. Parts of Dewsbury Moor, the Overthorpe estate in Thornhill, and Fieldhead estate in Birstall also stood out for their general decline in living standards since the exercise was last carried out in 2007.
At the meeting on Wednesday chief executive of Kirklees Council Adrian Lythgo, plus council leader Mehboob Khan and senior officers, met community representatives and teachers from Earlsheaton and Chickenley to discuss what was going wrong – and what can be done about it.
Coun Kane was particularly worried about the poor educational standards in Chickenley – the neighbouring Princess estate area fares better but is still ranked in the bottom 2.2%.
He said: “Why have we still got this despite the amount of money that has been put in? “It’s clear that we have major problems with people never getting out of poverty, never getting any employment skills, never coming close to doing meaningful work.
“Whatever we are doing isn’t coming through in results with young people.”
Coun Kane was also concerned about high levels of elderly poverty on his patch.
Meanwhile parts of Scout Hill and the Pilgrim estate rated even worse than Chickenley overall, with much more financial poverty and only slightly better educational attainment.
The School Lane and Moorside area of Dewsbury Moor fared slightly better in the general index of deprivation, but for crime was the 50th worst locality to live out of the 32,482 on the list, in the bottom 0.2%.
The figures reveal stark examples of communities of ‘haves’ and ‘have nots’ living literally side by side with each other. Kirklees ranked 95th worst out of 326 local authorities in overall levels of social deprivation.

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