Hastings’ estates struggle among the UK’s most deprived

TWO of the town’s estates are some of the poorest and most poverty-stricken in the country, according to stark new figures.

The Broomgrove and Farley Bank/Halton areas have the unenviable position of being among the most deprived one per cent in England.

Almost a third of the town’s children are living in poverty, with more than 5,500 youngsters under the age of 16 coming from low-income families struggling to make ends meet.

In some of the town’s wards more than 40 per cent of children live in poverty.

There are also 11,281 households, around 28 per cent, in Hastings with low incomes and 18,600 people receive income related benefits.

Hastings is the 19th most deprived area in England and almost a third of residents live in neighbourhoods that are in the most deprived 10 per cent in the country.

The figures were laid bare at a council cabinet meeting held recently.

Councillors voted unanimously to adopt an anti-poverty strategy, designed to help tackle deprivation in Hastings and St Leonards.

This includes assessing the potential impact council decisions may have on poverty before making them and providing advice and support to those suffering from deprivation.

Jane Hartnell, the council’s head of policy and performance, said: “There is shocking evidence about the scale and depth of poverty in Hastings and St Leonards.

“A child born and growing up in Hastings can expect to live nearly five years less than someone in Lewes where average incomes are much higher.

“People living on low incomes in many of our communities find it hard to access advice, facilities and afford opportunities and services that others take for granted.

“The current economic climate is now making this situation more acute with dramatically increasing numbers of people facing uncertain or already bleak job prospects.

“Many people in town also face significant challenges as the welfare benefit and housing policy changes are introduced. The likelihood is that poverty will increase for many over the shorter term.”

Councillor Jay Kramer, the council’s deputy leader, described the figures as ‘chilling’.

She said: “Every decision we take, particularly with the allocation of our resources, we need to examine the impact and how it could alleviate poverty.”

Councillor Matthew Beaver said many people were falling prey to loan sharks and other loan companies with huge interest rates.

He said: “We should find ways of advising people that there are other means to get small amounts of cash they really need rather than using these sorts of agencies. The vast majority end up in greater debt because of the massive APR (annual percentage) rate.”