Renfrewshire Council

4. Renfrewshire - its place and people

Renfrewshire is a local authority area in the West of Scotland, with a rich history of creativity, innovation and culture. 

Approximately 179,000 people live in a number of towns and villages, with Paisley recognised as Scotland's largest town. Renfrewshire is also home to Glasgow International Airport, a key gateway into Scotland and beyond.

In common with other areas across Scotland, Renfrewshire was badly impacted by the decline of many traditional industries which had previously generated much growth and prosperity. Significant inequalities developed across Renfrewshire's communities in term of health and poverty, with some areas being recognised as amongst the most deprived in Scotland.

Over more recent years, stronger economic growth has been evident with many global and local businesses developing their operations in Renfrewshire. Partners have been working together to drive economic growth and are taking forward ambitious capital investment programmes. Linked to the City Deal programme £274m of investment has been secured to develop core infrastructure projects which includes the development of the Advanced Manufacturing Innovation District near Glasgow Airport. In addition, ambitious plans have been developed to transform Renfrewshire's town centres and to provide new purpose and opportunities for local people and businesses.

The Council with its partners has progressed an extensive programme of cultural and economic regeneration and has established the Future Paisley programme which aims to harness the area's heritage and culture to improve lives.

Partners have also been working with local people and communities to tackle the inequalities experienced across Renfrewshire. Significant progress has been achieved in terms of supporting people on low incomes through the Tackling Poverty Commission and Programme. New ways of delivering services and of tackling issues such as the poverty related attainment gap have been prioritised, and local partners can already evidence success in terms of the difference this work is making to local children and families.

Whilst great progress is being achieved, it is recognised that these inequalities can lead to deep rooted issues for individuals and families which are challenging to support. Particular issues are recognised due to factors such as poverty, mental health, alcohol and drug use and other vulnerabilities. Renfrewshire has the fourth highest number of looked after children in Scotland, with a clear link to issues such as parental neglect and alcohol and drugs issues. In terms of the Scottish Index of Multiple deprivation, 25% of Renfrewshire's local communities (or datazones) are rated as being amongst the 20% most deprived in Scotland.

Key Facts—Renfrewshire

On 30 June 2019, the population of Renfrewshire was 179,100. This is an increase of 0.7% from 177,790 in 2018. Over the same period, the population of Scotland increased by 0.5%.

In the year July 2019-Jun 2020 unemployment in Renfrewshire was 3.5% of the economically active population compared to a Scottish average of 3.3%.

Over the same period, employment for those aged 16-64 was higher in Renfrewshire with 76.5% in employment compared to 74.6% in Scotland.

Wages for people resident in Renfrewshire are significantly higher than for those working here. Gross weekly pay for full time workers resident in Renfrewshire for 2019 averages at £626.90 (Scottish average £577.70). For those employed in workplaces in Renfrewshire, the gross weekly pay for a full time worker in 2019 averaged at £536.10.

In Renfrewshire the percentage of children living in relative low-income families is 16.9%. This figure is less than the Scottish average of 18.1%.

The most recent Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation data was published on 29 January 2020. The figures show that levels of deprivation have fallen in Renfrewshire compared to SIMD 2016 but remain high. The majority of Renfrewshire's 225 data zones improved on their 2016 ranking and fewer of Renfrewshire's data zones are now identified as the most deprived in Scotland (from 61 in 2016 to 56 in 2020 within the 20% most deprived in Scotland). The new rankings show two of Renfrewshire's data zones in the ten data zones identified as the most deprived in Scotland—both of these are in Ferguslie

The gap between minimum and maximum male life expectancy in the communities of Renfrewshire is currently 14.97 years (2013-2017).

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, partners in Renfrewshire were clear that greater collaboration and focus on those people experiencing issues in relation to alcohol and drugs was a priority for local partners, with concern over levels of alcohol and drug related hospital admissions and record numbers of people dying through drug related deaths.

Many of the issues that local people experience in relation to levels of vulnerability are likely to have worsened due to the pandemic, and there is a need more than ever to prioritise support for those impacted by alcohol and drug use.