It probably sounds like a sob story to speak of deprivation in the well-heeled and desirable East Sussex. But just as it can be very lonely in a crowd, being surrounded by careless wealth can make it even harder to bear poverty than where everyone is suffering together. The strength of community is not there to sustain those who are unfortunate financially. Indeed as a report recently published by the Sussex Community Foundation has illustrated, being poor in rural places can be extreme in its effects. Housing is far more expensive than in less well-appointed areas; and transport is a requirement not always shared by urban poor. When the school my be several miles away; and the shops; and the doctor; and work (if any), life can be hugely difficult and expensive.
East Sussex is shown to include not only areas of deprivation but deprivation in isolation which may be psychologically even more difficult. We in UckfieldLabour think it very important for Labour to find ways to offer support and engagement with people isolated by circumstances about which they can do little. We have already submitted a policy paper proposing a nationwide online forum to enable people deprived of other political engagement to have a say on matters of importance to them and we are now hoping to work with others in rural constituencies to create a Labour rural/coastal network. Our votes may not carry the weight of those in winnable marginal but our values are just the same and our willingness to contribute to debate and improving the lives of others are as strong.
The full report on deprivation in Sussex can be seen here: