MIDDLESBROUGH ranks as one of the poorest areas in England with nearly half of the town considered to be deprived. But to what extent is this actually true?
The new figures published by the Government last month show the Teesside town to have the highest proportion of deprived neighbourhoods with nearly half of the 42 areas the 10% most deprived in England.
Deprivation deals with a wide spectrum of issues including those of housing, employment, education and health.
According to an Office of National Statistics report, this year the North East was found to have the highest unemployment rate in Britain with 8.5% and with the recent closure of SSI Steel works, that figure isn’t looking to get any better.
Speaking at a recent council meeting, the vice chair of economic regeneration and transport scrutiny panel, Councillor Jordan Blyth, said: “This is not the first time that industries in the North of England have been allowed to wither and die when they could needlessly have been saved.”
The official police crime map also shown a slight increase on crime with 6,150 crimes reported from August 2013 to the middle of 2014 and 7,253 from the middle of 2014 to August of this year.
However, with rejuvenation schemes sweeping the town including the state-of-the-art Middlesbrough Sports Village and a £30 million development of Teesside University, the traditional, industrial town has seen some big changes.
Adam Roberts, 21, owner and manager of local garage Auto Scan, said: “I think Middlesbrough has a serious problem with its image.
“It gets negatively portrayed in the media and I think it glorifies the issues the town has with drink, drugs and crime, which reflects on what people think of the town.
“People outside the town generally have quite negative opinions in the town when realistically it’s a great place to work and live in.
“My business is doing great it’s just a shame that a lot of industries that have been the fundamental identity to the North East are not here anymore.
“It’s hit the town and the people really badly. It’s a shame really because the town has so much potential it just gets let down by the government time and time again.”
Middlesbrough has a diverse community brimming with different cultures and values in their large population size of 150,000 people.
Mary Smith, 58, who has been a resident of Middlesbrough for the whole of her life, said: “For me, Middlesbrough is a great place to live.
“My family have all been born and raised up here and we all have a lot of happy memories here.
“The people are all lovely and there’s a real sense of community here.”
Tside reporter, Sophie Finnegan, explores what makes Middlesbrough such a great town to live in: