TREDEGAR has the second highest levels of deprivation among towns in England and Wales, according to a Centre for Towns study.

The Centre for Towns study, which looks at the short-term and long-term implications of the coronavirus on towns, has placed the Blaenau Gwent town second on its absolute deprivation scale.

The report says: “We believe these measures interact in different ways in different places but a place which has poor social and economic wellbeing and is isolated might be said to be lacking in resilience with regards to Covid-19.”


Measures that are considered for the deprivation ranking include distance to the nearest GP, the median household income and broadband speed.

The report highlights ex-industrial towns like Tredegar and coastal towns as being the most vulnerable.

The report also looks at the towns that have the highest percentage of its workforce in the industries that have all but shut down during the lockdown period such as the arts and leisure industry.

Risca was ranked 10th among English and Welsh towns for employment in this industry, with 9.2 per cent of the workforce in arts and leisure.

This includes creative arts, libraries, museums and sports activities.

When looking at the percentage of workforce employed in pubs and restaurants, Abertillery ranked seventh of all towns in England and Wales. Nineteen per cent of the town’s workforce is employed in the pub and restaurant sector.

The Centre for Towns has now called for “a programme of financial support that targets the most at-risk sectors, defined by short-term closure and the expected duration of recovery, managed at geographical level, that extends out throughout the likely duration of the pandemic.”

A spokesman for Blaenau Gwent council said: “It is too early judge the full social and economic impact of this in Blaenau Gwent at this stage and to detail any extra support that may be needed in the longer term for individual towns.

“In the short term the council is focusing on protecting its most vulnerable residents and delivery of key services in line with government and scientific advice.”

The chief executive of Monmouthshire council Paul Matthews said he welcomed the report.

He said: “We believe that the widely discredited business rates system which penalises many town centre traders needs to be reformed and landlords may need to be a little more realistic in their rental expectations.

“Over the last few weeks we have seen a surge in local people volunteering to support their friends, neighbours and places. We need to hold this surge of local community spirit and re-attach it to shopping locally. Every day needs to be a shop local day.

“If people want their town centres to survive and local traders to prosper it is regular custom translating to money in the tills that will make this happen. Local businesses in our county have been amazing in supporting citizens in need and we firmly believe that citizens remember this and return the favour.”

The Centre for Towns is an independent organisation that promotes the wellbeing of towns in England and Wales.

Caerphilly council has been contacted for comment.