A series of studies carried out for the Joseph Rowntree Foundation reveal that those in greatest need of assistance have the worst access to opportunities and services.People who most require good health care, education, jobs, housing and transport continue to struggle 60 years after the founding of the welfare state, the JRF’s assessment of 21st century life in Britain claims. Comparing people and places across England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, researchers at universities in Sheffield, Bristol and Edinburgh reported examples of the inverse relationship between need and supply when it comes to services. The studies reveal that areas with high levels of overcrowded homes tend not to have many under-occupied homes. The areas with the highest levels of under-occupied properties are identified as being in the Home Counties and parts of the South-West, north Yorkshire and Wales. Also uncovered by the research were 185,000 unoccupied holiday homes and second residences, mostly in rural areas. These same areas also tend to have an unusually high proportion of local people who are renting their homes from private landlords. Professor Danny Dorling of the University of Sheffield, who was part of the team that carried out the analysis, says: “Persistent inequality between rich and poor areas is reflected in terms of housing, education and health care, as well as economic wealth.” The team behind the report says it now aims to map the differences in living standards between the rich and the poor.