Page last updated at 15:11 GMT, Tuesday, 27 May 2008 16:11 UK

Anti-poverty drives 'poor value'

Govan area
Govan still has problems 20 years after the Garden Festival

Costly anti-poverty strategies in Scotland have failed to deliver lasting benefits, according to an academic.

Dr Chik Collins, from the University of the West of Scotland, said there had been no major changes in key areas like health, employment and crime.

He said the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow in 2014 may turn out to be another failed attempt at change.

But the Scottish Government and Glasgow City Council said they were determined the event would have lasting benefits.

Dr Collins said that despite massive public expenditure, regeneration projects had failed to tackle the underlying causes of poverty.

He cited Ferguslie Park in Renfrewshire, which despite having had £150m of investment, still has Scotland's worst record on health, employment, crime and education.

More than 20 years ago, the Garden Festival in Glasgow was designed to revitalise Govan, but Dr Collins said unemployment was four times the Scottish average.

We've got big plans for regeneration and I'm certainly very hopeful that we've learned the lessons from the mistakes of the past
Stewart Maxwell, Communities and Sport Minister
And he pointed out that the GEAR project, which spent £315m in the East End of Glasgow in the 1980s, had created a net total of 39 jobs.

"Worryingly we show no indication of really learning the lessons from that experience," he said.

"That means that as we enter the new phase of regeneration, with the waterfront developments and the Commonwealth Games developments, we have to be very concerned about what they are going to deliver.

"We could be on the way to yet another policy failure in terms of regeneration."

But Communities and Sport Minister Stewart Maxwell said he believed the outcome would be different this time.

"We've got big plans for regeneration and I'm certainly very hopeful that we've learned the lessons from the mistakes of the past.

"We'll invest not just in the places but also the people.

"The east end of Glasgow is a lovely area, down by the riverside is a beautiful spot.

"Once it's regenerated I think lots of people will come and live there and we'll have sustainable mixed communities and a future for that area."


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