Every three to five years, the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government produces a document called The Indices of Multiple Deprivation.
These Indices combine a number of indicators, chosen to cover a range of economic, social and housing issues, into a single deprivation score for each small area in England. This allows each area to be ranked relative to one another according to their level of deprivation.
There are 326 districts in England. The categories studied are barriers to housing services, crime, education, employment, health and living environment. There are also supplementary Indices measuring income deprivation amongst children and older people: the Income Deprivation Affecting Children Index and the Income Deprivation Affecting Older People Index.
After all these individual scores are collected, a Rank of Average Scores is produced; it is a population weighted average of the combined scores for a district. This also summarises the district as a whole, taking into account the complete range of scores across the district.
Using Luton Borough Council documents on this exercise, we feel the following tells the story of deprivation in Luton when compared to the amounts spent by Luton Borough Council on the airport expansion projects undertaken by its airport company London Luton Airport Ltd.
In 2004, Luton sat 101st out of the 326 districts. The Debenture Loan debts of LLAL to LBC were £16.9 million.
In 2007, Luton had moved up to 87th, so was becoming more deprived. The loans figure was static at £16.9 million.
In 2010, the town slipped again to 69th, but the loan figure was still the previous figure.
In 2015, the town had slipped again to 59th, it was around this time that LLAL would move from an airport concession fee collector, to an airport developer, and the Debenture Loans increased to £27.9 million.
By the time of the last report, 2018, the town had remained static at 59th, but the Debenture Loans had leapt to £57.9 million.
In the space of twelve months to 2019, this loan figure has leapt to £137.2 million. Currently being proposed is another £60 million loan to stabilise LLAL from LBC, with various other loans planned to continue current projects (to be discussed over the next two years), which could add circa £160 million to these debts. This would take LLAL over the £281 million loan facility limit that LBC has provided for LLAL.
The austerity cuts from Central Government which began in 2010 have played their part in deprivation in Luton, though these figures show the decline had started way before that time, and had not been acted on by the Council. So the new policy of LBC that poverty in Luton will be eradicated by 2040 if the airport is expanded, has the major flaw that the much trumpeted recent growth of the airport has done nothing to alleviate the real time poverty that exists today, or that that has existed since 2004.
We believe this shows that austerity cuts cannot be solely to blame for the town’s problems, and that the reckless and irresponsible airport spend can be shown to be an equal, if not greater drain on Luton’s residents?
Stop Luton Airport Expansion