THE Government was accused of targeting the most deprived areas of England for the deepest cuts in benefits, tax credits and council services, while protecting affluent parts of the country.
Analysis released by the Labour Party suggests that the north of England and inner-city parts of London are taking the brunt of cuts, with an average of £566 in cuts to welfare and local government for every person in the North-East, £511 in the capital and £508 in the North-West, compared to just £292 in the South-East outside London and £324 in the East of England.
Hartlepool was listed as the 24th hardest place to be hit with a £724 cut per head.
The worst-hit area, Knowsley in Merseyside, sees a total loss of £850 per head, but the least-hit area, Mole Valley, which covers the towns of Dorking and Leatherhead and surrounding villages in Surrey, loses £182 per head.
Shadow work and pensions secretary Liam Byrne said: “Communities facing the biggest hit to local government are also losing most from cuts to their tax credits and benefits, yet instead of helping working families the Tories are giving millionaires a tax cut.
“That tells you everything you need to know about this Government’s priorities.”
According to Labour’s figures, based on independent research conducted by Sheffield Hallam University and Newcastle City Council, the overall loss per head from welfare and local government cuts is £566 in the North-East.
But Conservative Party vice-chairman Bob Neill said: “Our welfare reforms will help people back to work, which will benefit the economy far more than the Labour alternative of simply abandoning people to claim benefits year after year.”