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Last Updated: Tuesday, 17 October 2006, 16:56 GMT 17:56 UK
Study shows 'most deprived' areas
Ferguslie Park
A few streets in Ferguslie Park were found to be the poorest
Ferguslie Park in Paisley has been earmarked as Scotland's most deprived area in official figures.

Four of the top five ranked areas for multiple deprivation were in west central Scotland.

Figures prepared for the Scottish Executive revealed that Comely Bank in Edinburgh was the least deprived of the thousands of areas looked at.

The information was contained in the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation published by the Scottish Executive.

Poorest areas

The study measured current income, employment, health, education, geographic access to services, housing and crime. It divided Scotland into 6,505 zones.

A handful of streets in Ferguslie were declared the poorest part of the country.

Next on the league table was Possilpark, followed by Castlemilk, both of which are in Glasgow.

Glasgow and the west of Scotland still have the highest concentrations of deprivation in Scotland but I welcome the real progress that has been made here
Malcolm Chisholm
Communities Minister

Although areas in Comely Bank were the least deprived, the Scottish Executive said this did not mean they were the most affluent.

The index, which was launched in 2004, has been used by the Scottish Executive in decisions on the allocation of 318m of community regeneration funding.

Communities Minister Malcolm Chisholm said: "Glasgow and the west of Scotland still have the highest concentrations of deprivation in Scotland but I welcome the real progress that has been made here.

"We have made huge investments in health, education and housing.

"Unemployment is around its lowest for a generation and more people are getting the skills and opportunities for work.

"Crime is falling and the seized assets of criminals are being reinvested in areas hardest hit by crime."

'Complex issues'

Commenting on the situation in Ferguslie, Cllr Iain McMillan, convener of Renfrewshire Council's housing, environment and community safety policy board, said the council and other agencies had teamed up to make significant investment in the area over the last few years.

He said they were targeting areas including employment, education, training, community safety, improving the environment and tackling deprivation.

Christine Grahame
Christine Grahame said ministers should "hang their heads in shame"

"Our message to the community is that we're committed to bringing real and lasting improvements in the years ahead and that we're already starting to deliver," he said.

"The practical results of those programmes to tackle current concerns and improve people's prospects aren't yet fully reflected in the statistics under discussion which date back to 2004/05."

He said that in the last year, 349 people in Ferguslie had been helped into employment, education and training and that there had been a number of environmental schemes in the area.

'Tide turning'

Richard Sullivan, project co-ordinator for Castlemilk Community Forum, said: "These figures are very disappointing.

"There has been a great deal of progress made in Castlemilk over the years but this shows there is still a need for additional investment.

"The way forward is for the community to be more actively consulted on policies as it is being side-stepped."

Steven Purcell, leader of Glasgow City Council, said he was confident the city was winning the battle against poverty.

It's a disgrace that we have a quarter of our children still living in poverty
Christine Grahame
SNP

"There is still an enormous amount to be done, but I'm confident that our policies are beginning to bring real benefits, providing the jobs, skills and confidence needed to allow everyone to share in Glasgow's continuing economic success", he said.

Christine Grahame, the SNP's social justice spokeswoman, said: "Labour and Liberal ministers should be hanging their heads in shame over these figures.

"In an energy rich nation such as Scotland, a nation which has the potential to be one of the wealthiest in Europe, it's a disgrace that we have a quarter of our children still living in poverty."

Murdo Fraser, the Scottish Conservatives' enterprise spokesman, said: "The causes of deprivation are multiple - poverty, lack of confidence, family breakdown, substance abuse, inadequate housing, low educational standards and poor health.

"We need an entirely new approach to tackle these problems, involving a close partnership with the voluntary sector."


VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
Ferguslie Park residents say the area needs more attention



SEE ALSO
Mixed views on poverty statistics
09 Mar 06 |  Scotland
Scotland's poorest place located
14 Jun 04 |  Scotland
Glasgow tops 'most deprived' list
27 Feb 03 |  Scotland
Child poverty figures challenged
18 Nov 02 |  Scotland
Child poverty claims spark row
16 Nov 02 |  Scotland
The lifelong impact of poverty
04 Nov 02 |  Scotland

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