BABY deaths are more common in poorer parts of Kirklees, new figures show.
Top officials have discussed figures showing how the district’s deprived areas are faring.
Kirklees Council is committed to raising standards in the 12 Neighbourhood Renewal areas.
It has committed an extra £9m to 12 deprived areas to try and close the gap between rich and poor.
The Neighbourhood Renewal service works in these areas to tackle problems including poor health, low educational attainment, high crime and unemployment.
It works alongside other Kirklees departments, ward councillors, health services, the police, voluntary organisations and the communities themselves.
Neighbourhood Renewal manager Anne Douglas revealed the various figures to the Kirklees Partnership Execu-tive.
She said: “It’s a mixed bag. By and large we’re not doing too badly compared to other councils.”
The NR areas continue to lag behind the rest of the district on infant deaths, with 12 per 1,000 live births, well above the Kirklees average of 7.6.
Ms Douglas added: “We know the worst inequalities are in some NR areas in north Kirklees and we’re working with Kirklees Primary Care Trust to develop a strategy to address this.”
The unemployment gap has also grown. In February, 2005, just under 3% of people in NR areas were claiming Jobseekers Allowance, as against the Kirklees average of about 1.5%.
But by November last year the claim rate in the poorer parts of the district had risen to 3.5%, while the Kirklees average stayed around 1.5%.
But the new figures show improvement on both fronts in education.
In 2004 28% of GCSE pupils in NR areas got five A to C grades, rising to 34% two years later. The Kirklees average also rose 6% in this time, from 47% to 53%.
And there was also good news in housing.
Ms Douglas said: “One of the big successes is in achieving a decent standard in social housing.
“We’re on target to reach our goal next year, two years ahead of schedule.”