Yorkshire Evening Post launches special series highlighting social inequality in Leeds

Today the Yorkshire Evening Post launches a special series highlighting the growing level of social inequality that exists in Leeds in 2019.

By Emma Ryan
Wednesday, 31st July 2019, 9:09 am
Is the scale of social inequality in Leeds creating a tale of two cities?
Is the scale of social inequality in Leeds creating a tale of two cities?

In a four-day series we take an in-depth look at the most affluent council ward in the borough, which is Harewood, and compare it to Gipton and Harehills, an area which is one of the most deprived in the city, if not the country.

It comes after social inequality charity, Gipton based Zest, recently carried out a sponsored ten mile walk from Harewood to another one of the city’s most challenged wards - Holbeck.

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Is the scale of social inequality in Leeds creating a tale of two cities?

Charity bosses opted to do the walk because it was ten miles and high-lighted the ten year life expectancy difference which faces babies that are being born in Harehills compared to Harewood.

Operations manager Dom Charkin says: “The facts are stark. Someone born in the most affluent area is likely to live ten years longer than someone born in a poorer area.

“The number of people living in deprived areas, over the last few years it was 150,000. Now it is 164, 000.

“In the most deprived areas, the social inequality is very visible but in some of the more affluent areas, people might live in big houses struggling to heat them. Inequality and the issues from that can manifest in different ways.”

The statistics reveal a deeper picture - from gaping differences in crime figures, car and home ownership, English speakers and low income families as well as higher than average obesity and diabetes sufferers.

However, they only tell so much of the story.

It is the residents that make up the community of these places and they are places, in both the case of Harewood and Harehills, that have shaped their lives - and changed them for the better.

Work continues at local authority level to help bridge the gaps in opportunities and the barriers to them but with Leeds City Council’s budget having been slashed by £266m - that will only go so far.