One of the UK’s most deprived places has been blasted as a “ghost town” by residents who say its empty streets make them feel unsafe.
People who live in Middlesbrough, Teesside, have been responding to a report by leading poverty experts that put the town in the bottom three in terms of destitution.
The Joseph Rowntree Foundation study found that only Manchester and Newham, in London, were in a worse state than Middlesbrough. And the findings appear to be backed up by reality on the ground, reports Teesside Live.
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Teaching assistant Pauline Carter, who was born and brought up in the town, said Middlesbrough being named the third most destitute place in England was “probably about right”.
Pauline, who now lives in nearby Ingleby Barwick, added: “Everything has closed down. I don’t feel safe in Middlesbrough. It’s too risky. I only came to Middlesbrough today to pick up my granddaughter.”
A 74-year-old pensioner, who didn’t want to be named, said: “It’s a ghost town. They’ve closed too many shops.”
Jean Young and June Fosse, shopkeepers at the town’s PDSA store, said: “Everyone says Middlesbrough is a ghost town. They’re shutting all the nice shops.
“People haven’t got resources to buy the shops. The resources have to be spent on the police because of the crime levels.”
The Joseph Rowntree Foundation report looked into people’s ability to meet basic needs such as staying warm, dry, clean and fed.
Oludare Olowora, who moved to Middlesbrough from Nigeria to study for a Master’s degree in 2021, said the town’s poverty was being driven by a lack of employment opportunities.
“There are no real jobs here,” he said. “I have been here since 2021. I’m not finding any work.”
Oludare arrived in the UK on a sponsored visa to study project management, but now he’s completed his studies he can’t find work. He said there were “no opportunities for people” and “no sponsorship” from employers.
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