Thursday, 1 October 2015

Thanet: Incompetence & Austerity Causes Massive Rise in Deprivation

Released yesterday by the Department of Communities and Local Government, the Indices of Deprivation rank Thanet as  
  •  -35th  (out of 326)  most deprived local authority areas  in England and  Wales
  •  -2nd  most deprived local authority area in south east England after Hastings
  •  -most deprived local authority area in Kent.
This latest ranking shows that deprivation in Thanet has massively increased during the 5 years since the  Indices were last published  in 2010.  The 2010 Indices ranked Thanet as 49th   most deprived area in England and Wales yesterday’s figures show that the council has slipped back a staggering 14 places in the league table, indicating that economic and social recovery is still proving to be elusive for the Isle.

The Indices calculate deprivation by looking at income levels, employment rates, educational achievement, health care, crime levels, access to housing, and environmental quality within the 326 English and Welsh local authority areas. Most of Thanet’s deprivation is concentrated in the Margate Central, Cliftonville West, Eastcliff, Central Harbour, Newington and Northwood wards. Margate Central, Cliftonville West, Eastcliff and Central Harbour are amongst the 10% most deprived wards in England and Wales

Former Green Party Thanet Councillor Ian Driver, said I am extremely concerned that rather than becoming more successful, Thanet has gone backwards and become even more deprived over the past five years.  This is undoubtedly the result of the austerity measures imposed by the coalition government which led to massive cuts in public spending on schools and colleges, health services, house building and benefits. The coalition also oversaw a huge rise in low paid part time work and zero hours contracts.

Driver also accused Thanet District Council (TDC) of being responsible for causing deprivation. He said “deprivation in Thanet has been made much worse by the appalling  political and managerial incompetence at TDC over the past 5 years especially during the period when Labour was in  control. Thanet under Labour wasted £3.4 million by agreeing a  secret fee deferral scheme  with TransEuropa Ferries which went belly up.  It wasted £3million propping up a loss making ghost port in Ramsgate with no ships. It wasted £3million in compensation for unlawfully suspending the live export trade. I estimate that at least £10million of taxpayers money, probably much more, was squandered  by incompetent senior managers  and  Labour Party political bosses. This money should have been used to tackle deprivation and  improve living standards and life chances for the people of Thanet.

I fear for the future of Thanet as the new Tory Government embarks upon an even more draconian austerity programme than its coalition predecessor. Only a fundamental review of Thanet’s local government structure, coupled with  strong anti-austerity policies, a fairer tax system, increased public investment and getting rid of Trident missiles  can tackle Thanet’s deep seated social-economic problems”.

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