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Countryside is hit by 185,000 second homes

The social policy research organisation says these properties tend to be in rural areas with hugely below-average owner-occupier rates as local people are priced out of buying homes.

The wide-ranging research, which covers housing, employment, health, education and welfare, also reveals a “work rich” and “work poor” divide.

While unemployment in the key financial districts, such as the City, Bath, Bristol and Edinburgh is low, workers typically work longer hours. Conversely, those in high unemployment areas typically work shorter hours for poorer salaries.

The study also found that the South-east and more wealthy areas have a vastly higher proportion of well-qualified individuals working in low-status occupations, due to competition for jobs in Government, financial services and other industries, while poorer areas have a shortage of graduate workers.

University of Sheffield professor Danny Dorling, one of the leaders of the research, says: “There are aspects of British life that closely reflect the five giant evils of disease, ignorance, squalor, idleness and want that William Beveridge identified in his 1942 report leading to the creation of the welfare state. From that point of view, it is acutely disappointing to discover so many opportunities and resources still depend on where people live.”

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