Poverty in Lancashire

Poverty in Lancashire

About our area

Lancashire stretches from the Pennines to the Irish Sea and from the edges of Greater Manchester and Merseyside to the foothills of the Lake District. Together Lancashire operates within the footprint of the diocese of Blackburn, which has almost the same borders as the former county of Lancashire before 1974, when the towns of Blackburn with Darwen and Blackpool were taken out of the County Council and became unitary authorities. The county council covers the rest but as a two tier authroity with a dozen of so district councils in delivering more local services.

There are large urban areas centred on Blackpool, Preston (with nearby Leyland) and Blackburn, as well as the former mill towns of the M65 corridor (Accrington, Burnley, Nelson and Colne) and the city of Lancaster and adjoining seaside town of Morecambe.

Issues of poverty

There are substantial areas of multiple deprivation in all these urban districts, and smaller patches of poverty across the rest of the county.  Recent analyis has shown that some of the greatest concentrations of poverty and deprivation are now found in coastal communities, with Blackpool reporting the lowest male life expectancy of any local authority area.

The northern half of the county (other than Lancaster/Morecambe) is essentially rural and relatively affluent, including the Forest of Bowland area of outstanding natural beauty.  The urban areas, which were formerly textile towns running from Preston up the M65 to Colne, are ethnically and religiously diverse with large and mostly segregated communities of Muslims with a family heritage in India and Pakistan.  There are issues with racial tension between communities in some areas. Recent years have seen the growth of new migrant communities from Eastern Europe. Preston and Lancaster as univesity towns have attracted students from across the world, with Chinese and Africans being the most numerous.

Public sector austerity has had a disproportionate impact in the area, as high proportions of the workforce depend on public sector jobs, or private industries fulfilling government contracts. Local authorities too report they are forced to make budget cuts that are proportionately greater than in the South of England. Finally welfare reform has taken money out of the pockets of some of the poorest unskilled people, who find it most difficult to find full time jobs that pay a living wage. Furthermore if they are social housing tenants affected by the bedroom tax, they will have few options of renting a smaller property within their local community. 

Unemployment across the area covered by Together Lancashire has usually been well above the national average, and has grown in the recent recession, particularly affecting young people. Wage rates remain persistently below average, and many of the jobs on offer are part time with unpredicatable or unsocial hours.

Housing is a serious problem with lots of unimproved, tightly-packed Victorian terraced streets in the old mill towns, and multiple occupation common in the faded seaside resorts.

Health indicators such as high mortality and morbidity, and high teenage pregnancy rates, reflect the scale of poverty. Alcohol abuse and its consequences are common, and illegal drug use is also problematic; family breakup and domestic violence is common.

A combination of these issues propel some people into homelessness or offending behaviour and  contact with the criminal justice system.


Red areas are the most deprived - blue ones the least

Use our poverty look-up tool to discover the poverty indicators and rankings in your parish.

If you would like to look at a full parish spotlight profile of your CofE parish please email Ed Saville.

Greg Smith has access to a GIS mapping software programme and the full data from the 2011 census and can help produce bespoke maps and tables for your neighbourhood.

You can download powerpoint presentations giving maps and tables we have produced for the areas below

Preston     Morecambe  Fleetwood   Blackburn


Together Lancashire is supported by the