Stroll through Broadway Market in Hackney on a Saturday afternoon, and you’d be hard-pressed to find any signs of poverty.
In reality, however, Hackney is one of the most deprived areas in the entire country, second only to Liverpool. 42% of Hackney’s LSOAs (smaller areas within wards) are in the top 10% most deprived LSOAs in the country.
Looking at 2010, 2006, and 2002 voter turnout data, the story told is a familiar one: as deprivation increases in a given ward, voter turnout generally decreases.
In 2002, when the average voter turnout rate in London was 32%, Hackney’s five most deprived wards – Wick, Hoxton, Haggerston, Chatham and Dalston – all had voter turnout rates well below the London average. This trend continued both in 2006 and 2010.
Clissold, the least deprived ward in the borough, consistently had higher voter turnout rates: 65% in 2010, 41% in 2006 and 30% in 2002.
Although many of Hackney’s residents living in the borough’s extremely deprived wards may again feel uninspired to vote, this May’s election is a particularly important one.
“The main issues affecting Hackney now in the run-up to the local elections are definitely regeneration, education and employment for our young people,” La Toyah McAllister-Jones of Hackney Unites said.
McAllister-Jones believes that although regeneration is a critical issue all over London, it is a particularly salient one in Hackney.
“I left Hackney, then came back after three years, and the changes in three years in Dalston alone have been huge,” she said. “There’s been a real influx of new people coming in with new money, and this can potentially be a good thing. But I question whether the regeneration and integration program has been thought through at all.”
If you haven’t yet registered to vote, remember that the deadline to register is May 6.
For more information on voter registration, see Hackney Council’s webpage for voters here, which also gives details on how to register in special cases: for the homeless, for mental health patients, for prisoners on remand, and for armed forces members serving overseas.
By Hajera Blagg & Taku Dzimwasha