25 August 2000
The Association of London Government accused ministers of overlooking vital poverty indicators in compiling the new Index of Multiple Deprivation in an attempt to favour more rural areas for funding.
Several London boroughs look likely to be bumped out of the 65 most-deprived league, including Hammersmith & Fulham and Kensington & Chelsea. Yet the ALG claims that these house some of the most deprived wards in the country. The index will be used to determine a range of government funds, including the Single Regeneration Budget.
'How is it that areas that were considered deprived a year ago no longer have a problem?' said Sir Robin Wales, chair of the ALG. 'Something is clearly wrong with the way the new index is being calculated and this needs to be addressed or urban areas will suffer.'
London Mayor Ken Livingstone described the index as a 'classic exemplar of institutional racism' as it no longer takes into account levels of English as a second language.
The new index follows a two-year review and outlines poverty levels in wards by combining information on income, employment, health, education and housing access.
A spokesman for the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions said: 'Ministers have not made the final decisions on how the index will be used. There is no longer a top-65 deprivation league table and authorities should not assume that these indicators are going to be used in the same way.'