General Election: Parliamentary seats where people are at highest risk of poverty

New analysis has highlighted the parliamentary constituencies where high levels of working-age poverty are likely to exist, ahead of June’s general election.

It also highlights how issues such as low wages and skill levels are trapping millions of people in poverty. Explore the data and search your area.

In a campaign dominated by Brexit, the independent Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) is urging the parties to use their manifestos to offer a bold programme of domestic reform to ensure prosperity and opportunity reach all parts of the UK.

JRF’s ‘Working Age Poverty Risk Index’ scores constituencies across Great Britain from 0 to 10 (where 0 is the lowest risk and 10 the highest), and is calculated using a combination of out-of-work benefits and in-work tax credit recipients.

Poverty Risk by Parliamentary Constituency

‘Working Age Poverty Risk Index’ scores for constituencies across Great Britain.

The analysis found:

  • Nine of the seats in the 100 with the highest poverty risk score are marginal seats, where a swing of less than 5% is required for it to change hands: Peterborough, Walsall North, Blackpool North and Cleveleys, Burnley, Torbay, Vale of Clwyd, Hastings and Rye, Halifax, Dewsbury.
  • The seats with the highest poverty risk score are: Bradford West, Glasgow North East, Birmingham Hodge Hill, Bradford East, Birmingham Hall Green, Blackburn, Blackley and Broughton, Nottingham North, Blackpool South and Birmingham Ladywood.
  • The seats with the lowest full-time wages amongst low earners are: Blackpool North and Cleveleys, St Ives, Doncaster Central, Blackpool South, Mansfield, Dwfor Meirionnydd, Birmingham Erdington, Lincoln, Bradford West and South East Cornwall.
  • The seats with the highest proportion of workers with low skills (below five GCSEs A* - C or equivalent): Birmingham Hodge Hill, Bradford West, West Bromwich West, Wolverhampton South East, Birmingham Ladywood, Walsall North, Warley, Leeds East, West Bromwich East and Bradford East.

Campbell Robb, Chief Executive of JRF, said:

“Our analysis shows poverty affects every constituency in Britain, from Conservative districts to Labour industrial heartlands. It means millions of people, including working families, are struggling to make ends meet. This election campaign needs to be go beyond Brexit and ensure prosperity and opportunity reach all corners of the country.

“The next government has a historic opportunity to transform the prospects of the UK, but there is a danger Brexit negotiations could suck the oxygen out of the reforms we badly need to see at home. Over the next Parliament, the focus should be on making sure that people can improve their prospects and get on at work, that pay and productivity rise in all parts of the UK, and people’s incomes keep pace with the cost of essentials.

“The vote to leave the EU highlighted the deep divisions that exist across the UK, with too many people and places left behind by the country’s economic success. The parties must use their manifestos to address these concerns.”

To do this, JRF is calling for manifestos to:

  1. Offer better support for adults who want to improve their prospects through retraining. 3.5 million adults have no qualifications and the UK lags in international league tables for literacy and numeracy, creating serious knock-on effects for national productivity. In England, a shop worker or lorry driver over the age of 25 who already has a level-two qualification is not eligible for public assistance to update their skills or change occupation even if they are experiencing in-work poverty
  2. Deliver a better deal for the parts of the UK that have been left behind. This means securing equivalent EU regional funding to invest in economic development, skills, employment support and business support in struggling places. This funding should be combined with devolution deals for all places and rebalancing national economic spending to deliver real change in these places
  3. Safeguard low-income families’ living standards. Reconsider the current freeze on most working-age benefits, in light of rising inflation. Allow low-income families to keep more of their earnings under Universal Credit by increasing the work allowance, rather than further increases to the personal allowance, at a much lower cost to the Treasury.