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Last Updated: Tuesday, 5 February 2008, 14:56 GMT
Poverty 'hampers' city's recovery
Govan area of Glasgow
The authors said it was a bleak assessment of the city

Glasgow is blighted by "epidemic" levels of drug and alcohol abuse and has the same number of teenage gangs as London, according to a think tank.

The right-leaning Centre for Social Justice (CSJ) said the city's economic recovery had been hampered by appalling levels of social deprivation.

Its report predicted that half of all families in Glasgow would be headed by a lone parent eight years from now.

It praised the work of voluntary groups but said it was "a tale of two cities".

Breakthrough Glasgow is the third in a series of reports on the social challenges facing Britain's major cities.

Introduction of a transferable tax allowance for married couples to support the institution of marriage
Particular attention should be paid to vulnerable families, targeted through appropriate access points such as Family Hubs
A unified service should replace the fragmented approach to treating alcohol and drug addiction
Putting abstinence-based rehabilitation at the heart of drug treatment policy
Attaching a treatment tax to alcohol to reduce consumption and provide funds for addiction treatment

It compared social problems in Glasgow with comparable cities in the UK and concluded that the "eye-catching and welcome regeneration of the commercial centre masks the parallel existence of social decay".

The CSJ, which was set up by the former Conservative leader Iain Duncan Smith, pinpointed a severe youth crime problem in the city.

It warned that there were 170 teenage gangs in Glasgow - the same number as in London.

The proportion of young people not in employment, education or training was about 18% - 50% more than the Scottish average and roughly twice that of Manchester.

Glasgow also had the second worst exam pass rate at Standard level in the whole of Scotland, according to the report.

The proportion of the city's residents claiming incapacity benefit was the highest of all major UK cities.

It was 50% higher than the Scottish average and double the rate for the UK.

Fiona Campbell

The report's authors admitted theirs was a bleak assessment of Scotland's largest city.

However, it also praised the burgeoning number of voluntary projects and workers who were "battling largely unsung in their efforts to rebuild the lives of the many people left behind by Glasgow's economic rebirth".

Mr Duncan Smith, who chairs the CSJ, told BBC Radio Scotland: "The critical issues are family breakdown and drug and alcohol abuse - which are very high here, with up to 15-20,000 registered drug users.

"There are such deep levels of deprivation in a city that is quite rightly priding itself on its regeneration, that it's therefore not financial, there are structural issues.

"Policy must deal with the pathways to breakdown - high levels of family breakdown, high levels of failed education, debt and unemployment."


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Steven Purcell, leader of Glasgow City Council, said: "It's well-documented that Glasgow still has a major challenge in terms of our long-standing and deep-rooted social problems.

"It's almost every six months that we get another one of these reports that highlights the challenge that we face.

"At least this report makes some recommendations about some of these problems - some of them I don't agree with - but the bulk of them are things we are beginning to do in the city since I took over as leader of the council two years ago."

He said the council was focusing on tackling health problems and unemployment.

"It's not all bleak, there are green shoots of recovery, where we're getting the partnership working right," he said.

"Ten years ago when Labour came to power, 40% of school leavers in this city went straight into unemployment - that has now halved - and in some schools in the east end it's been reduced to 10%."

The positive side of Glasgow

Regeneration scheme funding boost
14 Dec 07 |  Glasgow, Lanarkshire and West
Lung disease 'hot spots' outlined
13 Nov 07 |  Glasgow, Lanarkshire and West
Deprivation fuels health problems
19 Jul 07 |  Glasgow, Lanarkshire and West

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