This article originally appeared in Connected Voice Magazine.
In Newcastle, as in many places in the UK and beyond, there is a tension. Our collective desire to celebrate the city’s opportunities, cultural richness and economic potential sits alongside a widespread recognition that many people are not able to access the wealth we have created.
“despite the value of foreign direct investment increasing […] child poverty in Newcastle has risen sharply”
Despite in the North East the value of foreign direct investment increasing from £16.2bn to £24.5bn between 2014 and 2020 (ONS, 2021 ) child poverty in Newcastle has risen sharply in the same period, from 28% to 41%, rising further to 42.4% in 2021 (North East Child Poverty Commission, 2021). These figures are now the highest in the region and 7th highest in the whole of the UK. Other measures are also heading in the wrong direction. Life expectancy in Newcastle as a whole is already lower than the national average and this is even more starkly felt in the most deprived wards, where men can expect to live 13.1 years less than those in the least deprived (8.8 years for women) (Public Health England, 2019). Byker and Walker wards, in particular, consistently appear on datasets showing the most deprived wards in the UK in terms of health patterns (Oxford Consultants for Social Inclusion). This would suggest that the growth of inward investment in the city is not materialising in better outcomes for all of its people, with those of the greatest need feeling the sharp edge of the knife.