Nearly a tenth of neighbourhoods in Swindon are among the most deprived in England.

Government figures show that the borough in general is 157th in the deprivation table across England, and 10th in the south west.

But nine per cent of its individual neighbourhoods, one in 11, are in the highest 10 per cent of deprived areas.

Government officials ranked each local authority from one to 317, with low numbers indicating higher levels of deprivation.

The rankings use the most up-to-date data on income, employment, education, health and crime, as well as housing services and the environment, to assess more than 32,800 small areas or neighbourhoods across England.

Russell Holland is the deputy leader of Swindon Borough Council and the cabinet member for finance , education and skills.

He said: “The averages do mask the reality sometimes. Swindon is a prosperous town, but some of its areas, Penhill, Pinehurst and Park South and North are among the most deprived in the country.

“The first thing the council must do is the normal responsibilities of any local authority - good housing, good services, good education and schools.”

“We are also doing work on financial inclusion with the credit union, and money mentors, and we’ve run a campaign against loan sharks. because we know loan sharks do target people in under-privileged areas.”

The other way of addressing the issue for Coun Holland is to allow people in less prosperous areas to help themselves and others: “We have to ensure the town has a thriving economy so people can find work, and there’s a lot of talent in these area. People look out for each other, and help each other, and we can try and get the most out of that talent.”

But Labour councillor Bob Wright, who has long campaigned on deprivation thinks that’s not quite enough: “The administration says it doesn’t make jobs, just the conditions to attract them, but it is also an employer.

“Education is key, but also confidence. You need both - talented individuals need the confidence to believe they can take opportunities , that they deserve them, so we need work on both education and confidence

“And you have to look at housing policy. If you always put under-privileged families in just a few areas, then you get clusters of serious deprivation, as we do in Swindon.”

A government spokesman said: “We’re providing more support to the most deprived authorities, which now have a spending power 16 per cent higher per home than the least deprived.”