NEIGHBOURHOODS in Barnsley are among some of the poorest in Britain according to new research.

The study has been commissioned by the Financial Times to look into the impact of austerity amid sweeping changes made to the welfare and benefits system.

The investigation is the first to examine the local economic and business impact of the reforms, using research by Christina Beatty and Steve Fothergill, of Sheffield Hallam University.

Research shows cuts to welfare payments will hit northern towns and cities up to five times as hard as those in the south.

The information has been used to create the FT's 'austerity map of Britain' - which shows almost a third of neighbourhoods in Barnsley are among the poorest 20 per cent in the country.

The map shows the overall impact of cuts to welfare payments in the borough will take £93m out of Barnsley people's pockets up to 2015. That means working-age residents will be £626 worse off a year.

Some of the highest sums working-age residents in the borough will lose per year are: £108 with the government's plan to increase benefits by one per cent a year, rather than in line with inflation; £115 in tax credits, compared to the national average of £88; disability living allowance cuts of £59, compared to the national average of £37; and incapacity benefit cuts of £197 are much higher than the national average of £103.

Cllr Steve Houghton said in order to address the austerity in Barnsley, the local economy needs to be revived and jobs need to be found.

"Jobs are good anyway but it becomes more imperative to spend time bringing new business and creating new jobs from that," he said.

"What we will do with people is keep up support in terms of welfare rights, and give people the best advice working with Citizens Advice, the Credit Union and Voluntary Action Barnsley.

"The Tory-led government is cutting money to the poorest people in society and it is very difficult to manage that.

"We will keep working to support small businesses but it is going to be a heck of a difficult next three years.

"What I can guarantee is we will do everything we can to support vulnerable people by growing the economy and jobs, and shouting up and standing up for Barnsley."