Over a quarter of Doncaster residents are unhappy where they live

People in Doncaster North are among the least satisfied in Britain with the facilities on offer in their area, according to a survey.

Thursday, 13th May 2021, 7:37 am

It comes as the Government is set to outline its plan to 'level up' the country, though anti-poverty charity the Joseph Rowntree Foundation said it must improve on its "piecemeal" attempts so far.

A survey by the think tank Demos asked 20,000 adults in parliamentary constituencies across Great Britain how satisfied they are with their local areas by measuring their priorities against what is on offer.

In Doncaster North, an estimated 28 per cent of residents think that the provision of the facilities they consider most important is nearer to 'bad' than 'good'.

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This means the area has one of the highest negative satisfaction rates in Great Britain, though it was better than Sittingbourne and Sheppey, in Kent, where 32 per cent of respondents are dissatisfied.

Around half that proportion are unhappy with what is on offer in several constituencies in London.

Demos said prioritising retailers was particularly prevalent in more built-up areas, while rural communities were more likely to see a lack of quality transport as a problem.

The think-tank has urged the Government to reflect on its research as it considers how best to spend the £4.8 billion earmarked for a levelling-up fund to reduce inequality across the UK.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson promised a levelling-up White Paper in the recent Queen's Speech – to be unveiled later this year – saying it would "turbocharge" economic recovery nationwide.

But the JRF said the Government has produced just "a series of piecemeal individual policies" so far and called on the legislation to address the long-term challenges facing parts of the UK.

Mike Hawking, head of policy and partnerships at the charity, added: "The Government has now promised levelling up will be about improving living standards, and it’s against this promise that they should be judged.

"The best way to do this is by boosting jobs and growing earnings in economically weaker parts of the country, and we look forward to seeing the Government bring forward plans to do this."

The survey also asked people to choose which one of nine issues most urgently needs improving where they live.

In Doncaster North, 18 per cent of residents chose good local shops.

This was followed by supportive communities and pleasant streets (16 per cent), and good transport services (13 per cent).

The Centre for Cities said the main challenge facing many urban areas is the comparatively low education levels among the workforce, meaning well-paid jobs are scarce and wages lower.

A Skills and Post-16 Education Bill – new legislation aimed at reforming education for older teenagers and adults – was also announced in the Queen's Speech.

But the Centre for Cities said the Government must "make good on its promises" to improve education and training opportunities if it is to level up less prosperous parts of the country.

Andrew Carter, the think tank's chief executive, said: "Lower wages mean less disposable income to spend in local shops and other amenities. As a result many struggle and close – creating a general feeling of being left behind."

In these confusing and worrying times, local journalism is more vital than ever. Thanks to everyone who helps us ask the questions that matter by taking out a subscription or buying a paper. We stand together. Liam Hoden, editor.