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Estates' food shops top London prices

FAMILIES in small, run- down housing estates are paying more for their groceries than those living in Kensington, London's most exclusive neighbourhood, according to a survey by the children's charity Barnardo's.

A report published today , reveals how communities are left isolated and lacking in support and resources. In Allerton estate outside Bradford, 70 per cent of the population live on benefits and one in three young people is unemployed yet the cost of living is higher than in expensive areas of London.

A survey of estate shops found essential items such as baby food were often not available. Families in a Cardiff shop were charged pounds 1.74 more for a packet of nappies than in shops in Kensington.

Washing powder prices varied by 80p with the highest in Liverpool. On the Ely estate, Cardiff, tea bags were 50p more costly than in a supermarket. A basket of provisions was more expensive on the Bradford and Cardiff estates than in Kensington.

Barnardo's is calling for an improvement in the quality of housing on estates, an emphasis on providing jobs, improved security and an increase in Income Support.

The report concluded: 'Not only do these people have less money to spend, but they are having to pay some of the highest prices in Britain.

However, the report recognises the valuable role local shops play. 'Many of the larger supermarkets have abandoned estate communities, and although prices are higher in estate shops they are clearly providing a vital service to local people.'

Poor Deal, Barnardo's, Tanner's Lane, Barkingside, Ilford, Essex 1G6 1QG; pounds 3.