COMMUNITIES in the north of Solihull stand to be the worst affected by the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic, a council report reveals.
Inequalities between wards such as Chelmsley Wood and Kingshurst, compared to the south of Solihull, have become more marked since 2007.
And Solihull Council officers believe deprivation is set to get far worse in the wake of the pandemic.
In a report to Solihull’s Health and Wellbeing Board, analyst James Roberts from Solihull Observatory wrote: “The Solihull communities that are most at risk from a widening inequality gap are those already exposed to above average levels of deprivation, while simultaneously containing large numbers of people that are vulnerable to the negative health, economic and social effects of the current crisis.
“This is consistent with evidence that shows previous UK recessions have exacerbated existing inequalities and that the greatest direct impact of Covid-19 will be on vulnerable population groups.
“Levels of deprivation in Solihull are low, although there is a widening gap in many outcomes between the most and least affluent neighbourhoods in the borough. Solihull is a resilient economy, relatively well placed to weather the current storm. However, Solihull is not immune to national trends in inequalities and the unequal impact of Covid-19 on vulnerable population groups.
“It is highly likely that the adverse health, employment, income and social impacts will be concentrated in North Solihull, where deprivation is already highest.”
Mr Roberts found wards in the north of the borough will be hit hardest economically, but less deprived residents in Knowle, Olton and Shirley could also suffer short-term impacts owing to the older population of these areas.
“Combining health, economic and social harms shows that the risk of harm is greatest in the most deprived
neighbourhoods of North Solihull,” Mr Roberts added.
Members of the health and wellbeing board are set to endorse strategies to reduce health inequalitites. The council said: “This work will be led at pace by a consultant in Public Health, working with a task group that draws in expertise from across the council and elsewhere.
“The target is to develop a draft action plan by the end of November and a progress update will be bought to the health and wellbeing board on November 10.”