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Study reveals places worst hit by welfare reforms in England and Wales

Effects of benefits reforms will be hardest felt in Blackpool than anywhere else in Britain, according to research. Photo: Phil Noble/PA Archive/Press Association Images

The Government's raft of controversial welfare reforms will take almost £19 billion a year out of the UK economy and hit northern England hardest, according to research.

Residents in the Lancashire resort town of Blackpool will lose out more than anywhere else in Britain when changes to the benefits system kick in, academics at Sheffield Hallam University said.

Former industrial areas including Middlesbrough, Liverpool and Glasgow will also be disproportionately affected.

However, wealthier areas, predominantly in the South, such as Cambridge, Surrey and the Cotswolds, will see the smallest financial losses.

The government has introduced the biggest shake-up of the welfare system for years

Researchers assessed the financial impact of changes made to housing benefit - including the so-called bedroom tax on public housing tenants who have unused rooms - disability living allowance, child benefit, tax credits, council tax benefit and several other benefits.

Places worst hit by welfare reforms

The list below shows which towns and cities in each British region will be hardest hit by Government welfare reforms.

Researchers calculated the average amount that every working-age adult stands to lose in each region of Britain per year. This average figure allowed them to gauge how much each area would be affected.

  • North East: Middlesbrough £720
  • North West: Blackpool £910
  • Yorkshire and the Humber: Hull £630
  • East Midlands: East Lindsey £610
  • West Midlands: Stoke £670
  • East of England: Tendring £620
  • London: Westminster £820
  • South East: Hastings £690
  • South West: Torbay £700
  • Wales: Merthyr Tydfil £720
  • Scotland: Glasgow: £650

Professor Steve Fothergill, from Sheffield Hallam's Centre for Regional Economic and Social Research, led the study, which was based on a range of official statistics, he said:

Some individuals are relatively unaffected by the welfare reforms whereas others face multiple financial losses arising from different elements of the reforms."

A key effect of the welfare reforms will be to widen the gaps in prosperity between the best and worst local economies across Britain.

"Our figures also show the coalition Government is presiding over national welfare reforms that will impact principally on individuals and communities outside its own political heartlands."