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Report exposes the great divide in Lancashire
4:42pm Friday 4th October 2013 in News
A NEW report gives East Lancashire residents an insight into how their communities compare to each other - and the rest of the country.
Lancashire’s Vital Signs, produced by the Community Foundation for Lancashire, reflects factual data and voices concerns and aspirations of residents and community leaders.
The report is designed as a guide for charitably-minded people and businesses as well as philanthropists and charitable trusts working in Lancashire on where to target their help.
It shows that in Rossendale levels of crime, for example vehicle crime and burglary, are below the national average.
Rossendale also has some of the most affordable houses in England, ranking 13th nationally on the Housing Affordability Scale.
Rossendale has the highest percentage of people in Lancashire who are employed in ‘skilled trades’, such as construction and agriculture.
But at 2.74 tonnes per person per year, Rossendale has the highest domestic CO2 emissions per person in Lancashire, placing the district inside the worst 20 per cent in England, and air quality in Rossendale is noticeably below the regional and national averages.
The main aspiration for citizens of Pendle was to create growth in the town centres. Ranked 35th out of 39 districts, Pendle has one of the worst business and enterprise scores in the north west, meaning the area has extremely low levels of new business formation and new business survival. Six out of 10 new businesses in Pendle do not survive longer than three years.
The educational situation in Pendle is also highlighted, with only 49.8 per cent of pupils achieving five GCSEs grade A*-C in 2012, significantly below the average in England of 58.8 per cent.
Similarly, in Burnley only 48.2 per cent of pupils received five GCSEs grade A*-C in 2012, and one in 10 young people in Burnley are not in any form of education, employment or training (NEET), the highest percentage in Lancashire.
Burnley also has the lowest rate in Lancashire of people who give some form of unpaid help at least once a month, at just 18.5 per cent.
The borough also has the highest percentage of vacant homes in Lancashire at 7.4 per cent, compared to 3.1 per cent nationally.
Burnley MP Gordon Birtwistle said: “This has been brought on over many, many years, and some communities in Burnley did have low aspirations, but the Government is putting schemes in place and Burnley companies are taking on apprentices.
“We’ve just been named the most enterprising town in the UK.
“This is what it used to be like, but things are changing dramatically.”
Rossendale and Darwen MP Jake Berry said: Now the economy has turned a corner, Rossendale is perfectly placed to take advantage of economic growth.
“We have already seen evidence of this with the 20 per cent fall in unemployment in the last 12 months.”
Cathy Elliott, chief executive of Community Foundations for Merseyside and Lancashire said: “Vital Signs has given a real and immediate insight into Lancashire’s communities.”
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