Thanet ranked lowest of Kent authorities for ‘prosperity’


By Local Democracy Reporter Katie May Nelson

A think tank has published a list ranking the ‘most prosperous’ places in the country, with no areas in Kent coming out on top.

None of the county’s 13 local authorities managed to gain a place within the top 50 in the Legatum Institute’s UK Prosperity Index 2021.

A number of factors were considered order to rank areas which included the safety and security of local communities, resident’s physical and mental health, living conditions and investment in the environment on top of conditions relating to the financial stability of local economies.

Among the local authorities in Kent, Sevenoaks was ranked the highest at 59th, whilst Thanet was considered least prosperous at 309th out of 379.

Thanet dropped 23 places from the think tank’s 2020 report and was outlined in its executive summary as having one of the sharpest declines, ranking poorly for safety and security, enterprise conditions and economic quality.

Conversely, Sevenoaks ranked highly for enterprise and was within the top 20 local authorities for quality of social capital, which refers to the network of relationships among people in society; it moved up 25 places.

The full list of rankings for local authorities in Kent and Medway were:

  • Sevenoaks – 59th
  • Tunbridge Wells – 80th
  • Tonbridge and Malling – 85th
  • Dartford – 114th
  • Ashford – 120th
  • Maidstone – 123rd
  • Gravesham – 157th
  • Canterbury – 201st
  • Medway – 216th
  • Folkestone and Hythe – 219th
  • Swale – 230th
  • Dover – 239th
  • Thanet -309th

Folkestone and Hythe was highlighted as having the “greatest strengthening of family relationships within the south east” with a decrease in the percentage of lone parent families, from 20% to 17% over a decade.

Last year Thanet council’s cabinet member for finance, Cllr Rob Yates, spoke of his anger at having to make more cuts to services amid falling funding from central government.

Speaking at a budget meeting Cllr Yates said council tax was being increased by 2% – around £4.99 per year for a Band D property – but added that it was “not enough to fund local government.”

But he also outlined growth that had been supported by TDC and the community wealth building project aimed at encouraging large organisations in Thanet to spend their money locally where possible.

He said: “Within this we have signed up to a “Community Wealth Fund Alliance” that could bring £10 million pounds into 5 of our most ‘left behind’ wards if their initiative is successful.”

Cllr Yates says tourism remains ‘a priority’ with Thanet’s visitor economy – pre-covid- valued at £352 million, after welcoming 4.6 million visitors in 2019.

Overall, the south east – excluding London – was considered the most prosperous region, with 34 of the 60 top-performing local authorities.

Wokingham received the highest rank and Blackpool the overall lowest.

Professor Matthew Goodwin, director of the Legatum Institute’s Centre for UK Prosperity, said: “Genuine prosperity is about far more than building a strong economy or giving people bridges and trains.

“The index shows that we also need to invest in areas such as safety and security, health, enterprise conditions, and family and community life if we are to see all citizens, neighbourhoods, and communities reach their full potential.

“This is why, while we support the focus on levelling-up regions that have historically been left behind, we believe that the government can be bolder.

“We need to do more than just level-up left behind areas to the status-quo.

“We should be much more ambitious and aim to reach entirely new heights by creating the conditions that will put all regions and communities into the fast lane toward greater and long-lasting prosperity.”


  1. It isn’t surprising but these experts must realize like many seaside towns are seasonal towns there are lots of people working to extend the season as in Margate. To create jobs all the year round to bring prosperity to the town. Family connections here are fine and a the town is friendly and welcomes visitors we have to put up with the NIMBY brigade. Experts look again stop knocking Thanet.

  2. That’s why we need Manston Airport open to give jobs and prosperity to east Kent, what keeps any area in the doom and gloom is the selfishness of those who do not give a fig about others just so long as they live in their I’m alright jack world. Moaning wokey snowflakes. We have more than our fair share of them. Hence we are 309th or the list of NON prosperity.

    • Were Manston to reopen as an airport, more jobs (in tourism and hospitality) would be lost than others (fork lift driving) would be gained.
      Well, that’s what the PI thought. That’s one if the (many) reasons they gave for turning down the DCO.
      309th? And *still* people vote Tory.

    • Need Manston… Dovers just down the road Bill, one of, if not, THE busiest port in world and its 239th. What makes you think a freight hub would change the area so radically?

    • Well said now convince the NIMBY population in Ramsgate. Though I believe they prefer the situation as it is.

  3. NO – this cannot be right ? we are forever being told what a fantastic place this is to live , what an up and coming area it is , as well as all the arty farty culture , and the turner centre , or were most of us right all along – its just another worn out old dump, comprising of seaside towns. with high crime / drugs / homelesness / grafitti/ high unemployment / dereliction . just a thought ?

  4. Interesting. No area of the whole of Kent scoring in even the top 50 for prosperity. Despite our proximity to London, which is one of the most prosperous cities in Europe. (No other British city comes near.)
    Yet, even within London ,there are some of the poorest districts in the whole country.
    For that matter, there are areas of the north of England that are very prosperous indeed, at least on average.
    Which really means that all this talk of levelling up the country by spending more government money on towns in the North rather misses the point.
    You can’t “level-up” geographical areas. You should “level up” all the people.
    Which suggests that there needs to be government investment into people in Thanet as well as in Blackpool. More support to people in Islington as well as in Leeds. It’s the people who are suffering “non-prosperity” not the town or city.

    • I guess it’s no wonder that Thanet is being used for more housing since it is low down the list. Building houses which improves the land owner(s) finances taking livelihoods away from tenant farmers and their workers and possibly devaluing houses in the new build areas. Apologies for the gloomy outlook but that is the reality.

    • It all depends on the criteria used to assess the prosperity.

      If it was based on the prosperity of those who can afford to smoke or vape, consume quantities of alcohol on a daily basis, eat takeaway meals every day (or dine daily at chain restaurants), embellish themselves with tattoos, partake of non-prescribed drugs – Thanet would have a higher standing in the league table.

  5. Nah that report is wrong.

    There are loads of Ferrari, Porsche, jaguar’s, Lamborghini Maserati around this area.

    The Turner Centre has brought so much wealth and jobs to locals.

    Anyone thinking manston is the answer give your head a wobble ! It’s all this crap about manston that is stopping thanet moving on. Manston as an airport is a non starter.

  6. i have often wondered how sane person would pay £750-000 for a flat on ramsgate seafront only to come out of you new ” appartment ” in to this dump , well reading this news has only confirmed my belief.

    • Because many of those willing to pay such sums come from london and in comparison our streets are tranquil oasis’s of calm. As one person put it, “the kids can go out and have little chance of being held up At knifepoint for their phone, i can walk the streets and not have to keep my phone out of sight, in thanet we can relax”

      And another put it “you think its s#*t here , but you should see where we came from”

      So different perspectives, just look at the prices now being paid for houses in cliftonville, figures that locals find unbelievable but which the incomers feel are similarly unbelievable bargains.

  7. Maybe TDC could explain why Thanet has dropped 100 places in 10 years? What are the others doing better than the dyfunctional bunch that hangs out in the Cecil Square bunker?

  8. Moved to Ramsgate 5 years ago from the North East and have got to agree that parts of Thanet are and look neglected no different to the North East good parts and bad parts.
    To justify funding from government and to justify well paid council jobs this is how it will always be you must have a poorer areas for those overpaid council and government employees to live in the more affluent better maintained areas.
    Food banks a plenty run by honest hard working volunteers but there is always someone higher up the chain getting over paid and rewarded for doing little.
    I’d like to believe things will change but I believe that would be wishful thinking.

  9. It’s the people who make neighbourhoods good or bad, clean or filthy, but the overall environment can only be looked after through public investment. Millions being spent on a new railway station but not enough money to keep our roads and pavements in good condition. We’re like a “developing” country not one of the richest.
    With low wages and house prices pushed up by Londoners moving here or having second homes, our houses will always be unaffordable for local people. Highest number of second homes and empty properties in Kent. How about tackling those issues?

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