The Office for National Statistics (ONS) data drills down into population and employment figures to provide a classification of deprivation status - finding the majority of Barnsley’s towns to be ‘high deprivation residential’ areas.
Such areas are those where job density - the number of jobs divided by working-age population - is low, and there are high levels of deprivation due to low income.
Thurnscoe, Cudworth, Royston, Bolton-upon-Dearne, Worsbrough, Wombwell and Hoyland all fall into the category - with researchers noting the latter three of those towns combine a growing population with declining employment over the period from 2009 to 2019.
A ‘relatively high’ share of towns in Yorkshire and the Humber are considered ‘high deprivation residential’ areas, at 26 per cent.
Areas where job density is higher but income deprivation is still high - Goldthorpe, Dodworth, Barnsley and Wath-upon-Dearne - are considered ‘high deprivation working’ towns.
All of these, except Goldthorpe, have seen both employment and population growth during the ten-year period - some of the few in the region, with four per cent of Yorkshire and the Humber towns seeing growth.
Goldthorpe - currently the subject of a £25m bid for government funding to drastically transform the area - and Thurnscoe are in the two per cent of the most income deprived towns in the country, with only 13 towns in the uppermost one per cent of more deprived areas.
Only Penistone is considered a ‘low deprivation residential’ area in the borough, with a job density of 0.18 jobs per person and income deprivation in the lowest quarter of towns.
The Barnsley borough is considered a ‘major conurbation travel to work area (TTWA)’, signifying that residents will often travel within the borough for work.
ONS researchers Richard Prothero and Cecilia Campos said: “Towns in conurbation areas are more likely to have low job density than high job density, reflecting the prevalence of commuter towns in these areas.”
Barnsley East MP Stephanie Peacock said: “I am incredibly concerned by these new statistics from the ONS, highlighting that towns here in our community are considered to be high in income deprivation.
“Sadly, this is another indicator of the damage done by ten years of a Tory Government which simply doesn’t care about towns like Hoyland and Wombwell, Cudworth and Worsbrough.
“With the Covid-19 pandemic entrenching and increasing inequalities, the government must act now and provide a proper plan to tackle the short and long term challenges our community is facing, and reverse the trends of increasing deprivation and poverty that we have seen over the last ten years.”
Wentworth and Dearne MP John Healey said: “This study underlines the deep damage we are still living with in the Dearne from the deliberate, destructive closure of the coal industry.
“Despite the new businesses brought to the area, this shows the need for long-term regeneration and restoring the investment in Barnsley that has been cut over the last decade. The key remains better paid, higher skilled jobs with a big boost to training so local people get the first call on new opportunities.
“People can see through the glib talk from government ministers about ‘levelling up’ - after 10 years of Conservatives in government, their priorities are still on London and the South.”