A LOSS of nearly £700 will be felt each year by every working-age adult in East Lancashire due to welfare reforms, according to new research.

Burnley is ranked just outside the top 10 of the worst-hit local authorities, with an expected loss of £690 per head by 2014-15, say professors behind a new study by Sheffield Hallam University.

Hyndburn follows closely behind on £680 and the figure for Blackburn with Darwen on £670, with Pendle also in the bottom 50 on £610 per head.

Researchers discovered that Blackpool was the most badly-hit, on £910, with the north west’s Knowsley, Liverpool and Rochdale also featuring in the worst 20 authorities.

One of the other key findings of the study was that town halls in the south and east of England, the traditional Tory heartlands, were far less affected by the welfare overhaul.

The likes of Cambridge, Wokingham and Rutland will only see reductions of around £250 per head.

Prof Steve Fothergill, of the university’s Centre for Regional Economic and Social Research, said: “A key effect of the welfare reforms will be to widen the gaps in prosperity between the best and worst local economies across Britain.

“Our figures also show the coalition government is presiding over national welfare reforms that will impact principally on individuals and communities outside its own political heartlands.”

Those authorities principally affected, including Blackburn with Darwen and Burnley, and the likes of Liverpool and Knowsley, already cope with a high proportion of entries on the national deprivation index.