The APPG for 'left behind' neighbourhoods was active between June 2020 and March 2024. This website will no longer be updated.

As members of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for ‘left behind’ neighbourhoods we know how important this ambition is for addressing the long-term inequalities faced by those in our most deprived communities.


Launched in 2020, our APPG advocates for the 225 neighbourhoods across England – and the 2.4 million residents who live in them – identified as ‘left behind’. These wards fall not only within the most deprived 10% of areas on the Index of Multiple Deprivation but also face high levels of community need. They lack the social infrastructure – places and spaces to meet, community groups and organisations, and transport and digital connectivity – essential for a thriving civic life. This double disadvantage leads to poorer outcomes in ‘left behind’ neighbourhoods – often multigenerational – across a range of indicators when compared to other equally deprived areas.

This can be seen most clearly in regard to people’s health. Worryingly, our APPG report with the Northern Health Science Alliance using Understanding Society data found that health outcomes in ‘left behind’ areas are among the worst in England, with growing disparities between them and the rest of the country. Residents in these neighbourhoods work longer hours than the national average while living shorter lives with more years in ill health.

Separate research conducted for the APPG by Oxford Consultants for Social Inclusion found that these areas saw fewer mutual aid groups set up during the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic, while also attracting less charitable grant funding to enable the community to respond and rebuild.

Over the course of our evidence sessions and ongoing inquiry into levelling up, the APPG has sought to understand what works in tackling deprivation at the neighbourhood level – with the rebuilding of strong, locally-led community networks and institutions emerging as a key element.

With the appropriate funding and support, there is significant potential for people in ‘left behind’ areas to rebuild their social infrastructure and to engage in partnership working to deliver successful solutions to local challenges. This is why members of the APPG have advocated for proposals such as a Community Wealth Fund, which would deliver long-term funding for areas that need it most. Seemingly small-scale resident-led initiatives such as a youth mental health campaign, funding for a community health champion or a free signposting or social prescribing service can have an outsized impact on the health and wellbeing of the broader community.

It is essential that we support people living in ‘left behind’ neighbourhoods to take the lead in their local area – building confidence, capacity and resilience to tackle inequalities over the long term.

This piece was originally published in Understanding Society’s 2023 Insights publication, which showcases research on health, work, and the cost of living. 

Read the full publication