PUBLIC authorities need to do more to tackle pockets of ‘severe deprivation’ which exist across the south coast of England, a new report says.

Published today by the Southern Policy Centre, the research compares eight areas across Dorset, Hampshire and the Isle of Wight to identify people “hidden” in more affluent parts of the region.

The report, which included a comparison of deprivation in east Moordown against the more deprived central Fratton area of Portsmouth, recommends that public bodies does more to address these issues and address a wider range of issues impacting on people living in poverty.

It looks at a range of areas including transport, housing and employment which affect people outside of major urban areas where poverty is more widespread.

Professor John Denham, of the Southern Policy Centre, said: “Public policy must be tailored sensitively to the different contexts and communities in which deprivation is experienced.

“Our findings suggest frequent breakdown in relationships between vulnerable individuals, families and public bodies. Sensitive and local engagement is needed to rebuild trust.

“Crucially, people tell us that although they might have had encouraging encounters or positive communication with official sources in the past, over time they have seen efforts to alleviate their hardships peter out - community schemes haven been abandoned, local schools closed, and health services withdrawn.

“At this local level, cutting back on these vital services plants seeds of distrust and disillusionment among what are often the most vulnerable people.

“Delivering on old promises and giving attention to following through, then, can help demonstrate commitment and start to overcome distrust.

“This need to rebuild trust resonates throughout our research – it is a vital lesson for policymakers in our region.”

The report makes two recommendations – one that a bespoke public policy approach is developed specifically for people living in areas of deprivation and a second that local authorities address a wider range of “neglected” issues including cheap and convenient transport and “affordable” high streets.

Bournemouth council cabinet member for regeneration and public health, Jane Kelly, said: “When we looked at the indices of deprivation we realised we had two main pockets of deprived areas – Boscombe and West Howe.

“We are doing a massive amount of work to help improve outcomes for people living in more deprived areas.

“We realise that there are these pockets and we are working to improve outcomes for people in these areas – this is incredibly important to us as a council and we are putting a lot of work into this area.

"Neighbourhoods are often much smaller areas - maybe just a street - than we traditionally think of and working on this small scale can often have a much more positive impact on residents."

The research was carried out for the Southern Policy Centre by Southampton University and funded by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation - a charity which aims to tackle poverty in the UK.