It’s before 10am on Friday morning and Howard Richards, 42, is drinking a beer outside Jaywick post office. He’s unemployed and on crutches because he’s having serious problems with his hip – he says he’s been on the NHS waiting list for months but he’s still waiting.
Richards says he didn’t vote in the Clacton by-election because nobody would help him get to the polling station in town. If he’d made it, he would have voted for Ukip. He’s not surprised that Douglas Carswell won. He says Ukip is popular because the area is craving change. “No one could do any worse. Look at the state of this place.”
In 2011 the ‘most deprived area’ in England was announced and Jaywick in Clacton-on-Sea (or rather the Brooklands area in Jaywick covered by LSOA number 1) found itself briefly in the spotlight for its high deprivation. A March 2011 BBC News story interviewed the leaders of Tendring District Council and Essex County Council about how they had “made a start” in improving the area. Tendring Council leader Neil Stock said: “So far our pleas for help have gone unanswered but now is the time for us to sit down with ministers and agree how they can help us arrest the area’s decline.”
Amid the backdrop of the general election in April 2015, a New Statesman article (quoted above) covered Brooklands four years on.
The article discusses local support for UKIP and changes since 2010. As evidenced by the BBC story, local authorities used their position at the top of the indices to make special appeals for funding. It will be interesting to see if Jaywick retains its top spot when the new Indices launch in September.