Leader calls for funding after deprivation stats released

Renfrewshire Council Leader Mark Macmillan has called for ‘urgent funding action’ from the Scottish Government after a new report showed deprivation in Renfrewshire had significantly increased over the past three years.

Councillor Macmillan was commenting following the publication of the 2012 Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation (SIMD) report which is prepared on behalf of the Scottish Government.

The study showed an area of Ferguslie Park in Paisley was the most deprived area in Scotland compared to over 6,500 communities of between 500 and 1000 residents. Ferguslie Park occupied a similar ranking in the equivalent study in 2006.

The report also found that, since the 2009 SIMD report, serious deprivation in Renfrewshire had significantly increased.  Three years ago, Renfrewshire contained 2.5% of the 5% most deprived areas in Scotland.  Now it has 4.3% of that group of the most deprived communities.

“These shocking figures on deprivation in Renfrewshire must act as a wake-up call to the Scottish Government,” said Councillor Macmillan.

“Only last week an Audit Scotland report on health inequalities identified deprivation as a prime cause of ill-health and reduced life expectancy, and called for better targeting of resources at those people and communities who need them most.

“Now this authoritative new national study has confirmed long-standing and worsening deprivation in Renfrewshire.

“Crucially, Renfrewshire’s deprivation level isn’t simply due to the general economic downturn.  Our position is getting worse relative to communities across Scotland and has been over a six-year period.

“Ferguslie Park was rated the most deprived area in 2006 when times were good and has the same rating now the economy has worsened.

“Since the current Renfrewshire Council was elected last May, we have made a consistent and detailed case to the Scottish Government for fair funding for Renfrewshire.  

“We stressed that the disproportionate problems Renfrewshire has endured on low incomes, deprivation and unemployment merit an increased share of the available funding.

“There is some outstanding work going on by public agencies and community organisations to tackle deprivation in all its aspects and to give people opportunities.  But all those involved need the proper resources to make an impact on these long-standing and large-scale problems.

“It is time public funding was more fairly allocated on the basis of issues such as deprivation and not according to population.

“Instead, the most recent budget announced by the Scottish Government left Renfrewshire on the grant floor of funding to local authorities – the same position it has been in since 2009.

“Renfrewshire can’t wait another three years for the next set of damning statistics on deprivation to confirm nothing has changed.

“The evidence is clear.  Renfrewshire needs and deserves fair funding to tackle problems which have blighted some of our communities for far too long.

“I will be taking that case to the Scottish Government.  I hope for Renfrewshire’s people and Renfrewshire’s communities they act on the evidence in front of them.”

The full report can be viewed on the Scottish Government website.

A breakdown of the Renfrewshire results can be found here.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013