Hard times push poverty to all corners of Scotland

Ferguslie in Paisley which was deemed most deprived area in Scotland. Picture: Wattie Cheung
Ferguslie in Paisley which was deemed most deprived area in Scotland. Picture: Wattie Cheung
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SCOTLAND’S poorest areas are now spread far more widely throughout the country, with fewer blackspots in major cities.

• Paisley’s Ferguslie Park the most deprived area of Scotland with Craiglockhart the least

Ferguslie Park in Paisley one of the most deprived areas in Scotland

Ferguslie Park in Paisley one of the most deprived areas in Scotland

• Glasgow neighbourhoods of Possil Park, Keppochhill, Parkhead West and Barrowfield all in top five most deprived areas.

• Fewer people resident in deprived areas living in deprivation themselves

The Ferguslie Park area of Paisley is the most deprived neighbourhood of Scotland, while Edinburgh’s Craiglockhart is the least, according to the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation 2012.

Soaring jobless levels across the country are among the reasons behind the increasing spread of poorer areas. Experts are now warning that the situation is likely to worsen as the impact of looming welfare cuts starts to bite, thwarting the life prospects of thousands of Scots.

Dr John McKendrick, a senior lecturer in Social Policy at Glasgow Caledonian University, said the problems go back “generations”. “All the evidence shows that the problems of poverty are on the increase,” he said.

“As you might expect when financial times are tough, then there’s a whole set of problems that arise from that and poverty intensifies.”

But the problems are not only a result of the downturn which has only served to intensify the problems, he said.

“We have a target to eradicate child poverty by 2020 and we weren’t on course to eradicate that when the economic times were good. Now that the economic times are bad, everybody acknowledges that target is not going to be met,” he said. “We must avoid coming to the conclusion that Scotland’s poverty is simply down to a temporary block in the economy. It’s much deeper than that. There’s a structural problem that has been there for generations.”

Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen have all seen relatively large falls in their share of the country’s poorest areas between 2009 and 2012, the index reveals.

But the Glasgow neighbourhoods of Possil Park, Keppochhill, Parkhead West and Barrowfield are all in the top five most deprived areas of Scotland.

There are 742,200 people living in the 15 per cent poorest areas of Scotland, the index shows, but only a third of these are actually living in deprivation themselves, the figures show.

Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said that independence would give the Scottish Government the powers to drive down deprivation levels.

She said: “The regeneration of our deprived and disadvantaged communities is a key priority for this government. Since 2008, we have invested £121.9 million in Urban Regeneration Companies to drive this change, helping to create more than 2,000 jobs and 900 training places.

“It is only by bringing the powers home and by being independent that we can build the nation that we all want, driving down the levels of deprivation in Scotland. You can only guarantee social justice if you have the powers to deliver it.”

The index itself is a comparison between different areas of Scotland, but does not specifically measure whether deprivation generally is increasing or decreasing compared with previous years. The term multiple deprivation describes a measurement of employment, income, health, education, access to services, crime and housing.

The results span 6,505 small neighbourhood “domains” across Scotland. In 2004, almost half of the worst 10 per cent areas were in Glasgow. The new report shows that proportion dropped to just over a third.

While the concentration dropped in Glasgow, Edinburgh, West Lothian, Aberdeen and South Lanarkshire, it increased in North Lanarkshire, Fife, Renfrewshire and East Ayrshire.

Peter Kelly of the Poverty Alliance said that any “redistribution” of poverty is a cause for concern, but said poverty levels in Scotland have “flatlined” in recent years. However, he added: “That situation will change as the impact of the big changes in welfare start to filter through. We just can’t see how we can avoid an increase in poverty, particularly in child poverty.”

John Dickie of the child poverty action group in Scotland called for action to address the situation. He said: “It’s vital to remember that behind this complex-seeming data are tens of thousands of children whose education, health and life chances are being systematically damaged by low income, poor housing, lack of jobs and inadequate access to services.”

Liberal Democrat health and housing spokesperson Jim Hume said: “The SNP government must make sure that people are not abandoned simply because they do not live within typical pockets of poverty.”

Most Deprived

1 Paisley Ferguslie, Renfrewshire

2 Possilpark, Glasgow City

3 Keppochhill, Glasgow City

4 Paisley Ferguslie, Renfrewshire

5 Parkhead West and Barrowfield, Glasgow City

6 Drumry East, Glasgow City

7 Parkhead and Barrowfield, Glasgow City

8 Paisley Ferguslie, Renfrewshire

9 Craigneuk Wishaw, North Lanarkshire

10 North Barlarnark and Easterhouse South, Glasgow City

11 Central Easterhouse, Glasgow City

12 Larkhall, Lightburn and Queenslie South, Glasgow City

13 Drumchapel North, Glasgow City

14 Carnwardric West, Glasgow City

15 Cliftonville South, North Lanarkshire

The index measures more then 6,500 “domains” across Scotland, with many areas split into more than one micro neighbourhood, meaning some places like Ferguslie in Paisley gets several mentions.

Least Deprived

Craiglockhart, Edinburgh City