Govt fails poor areas say Tories

By Liz Stephens

The government is failing to crack down on crime levels in the poorest communities in England, leading to a country of ‘two nations’ the Conservatives have said.

The top 20 most deprived council wards in England are in the top ten per cent for crime, and suffer the highest levels of burglary, theft, violence and criminal damage according to figures released by the Tories.

In a statement guaranteed to reignite the debate over which of the main political parties can claim to be the most ‘progressive’, shadow home secretary Chris Grayling accused Labour of “letting down” the poor.

Most of the 20 most deprived wards are considered Labour heartlands, and have benefited from large government grants in the last few years.

“Over the past ten years we have seen big increases in violence, in knife and gun crime in Britain, and now even burglary is on the increase again,” said Mr Grayling.

“The people who are at the sharp end of this are the people who face the biggest challenges in their lives in some of our most deprived communities.

“Billions of pounds, endless initiatives and a decade of rhetoric later, and the reality is the government has let those people down comprehensively.”

He added: “This research provides yet more evidence of the plight that the poorest in our society face under Labour, and completely undermines their claim to be the party of progressive politics.”

The row over which party can claim to be the ‘progressive’ force in British politics re-erupted earlier this month when shadow chancellor George Osborne claimed the mantle for the Tories.

His claims were described as “laughable” by the business secretary, Lord Mandelson, who said “George obviously still has a bit to learn”.