A new report has named some of Dundee’s neighbourhoods as among the most deprived in Scotland, raising questions over whether local approaches to tackle poverty are working.
The latest edition of the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation (SIMD) has calculated that more than a third of Dundee’s localities are considered among the most disadvantaged in the country – and the gap is widening between best and worst-off.
The Linlathen area is named the ninth most deprived in all of Scotland, while the area of Lochee around its high street is the 20th.
At the other end of the scale, areas of Broughty Ferry, the West End and Craigiebanks are considered among the least-disadvantaged in the city – and the country as a whole.
Government analysts carry out the SIMD survey every four years, rating hyper-local “zones” based on employment, health, crime rates and access to local services such as community facilities.
Tele analysis of the results of the latest survey suggests the most deprived areas are slipping further into poverty, while better-off areas are thriving.
Linlathen – named as the ninth-most deprived area in Scotland – was 76th in the rankings in 2016.
Mill O’Mains has fallen from 764th to 84th, having suffered setbacks such as the loss of its community complex and the nearby Fintry Mill Medical Centre.
Meanwhile, the Western Gateway development is continuing to thrive, climbing from 5,788th to 6,571st – and the Victoria Dock residential area has climbed more than 1,000 places to join the top 25% of affluent areas in the country.
Yvonne Mullen, chairwoman of the Mill O’Mains Community Pavilion Group, said she was “shocked, but unsurprised” at the ever-widening gap.
She said: “The area is deteriorating. I hope the council takes stock of this but I don’t see that happening.
“We still have a great community and we’re trying to keep it but the heart’s going to go without investment – what’s going to happen then? We’ll be isolated.”
North East regional MSP Bill Bowman has decried the “growing inequality” in Dundee.
The Tory MSP added: “The ramifications of that are massive.
“Scots in deprived areas are more likely to die early, and suffer from physical and mental ill-health, and are less likely to enter further education.
“Far beyond how much money someone may have, SIMD is a real reflection of what has happened in the city.”
West End councillor Richard McCready has written to David Martin, chief executive of the council, requesting an urgent briefing on the survey.
He said: ‘These statistics are shocking. It is disappointing to see the Scottish Government describe Dundee as having a ‘relatively high level of deprivation.’
“We must do all that we can to deal with these problems.
“I know that many people are working hard to alleviate poverty in Dundee. These figures should send a stark message that more needs to be done.
“We need to use all the powers available to the city council, to the Scottish Government and to the UK Government to have as our aim the eradication of poverty.”
Council points to record of helping vulnerable
Council leader and Dundee Partnership chairman John Alexander said the authority was “working hard to make the city a better place for everyone”.
He said: “These statistics underline the importance of our efforts to tackle deprivation and its causes.
“This data will be used to shape how resources are directed and how support is given to communities.
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“Proposals for a new £60 million secondary to replace Braeview Academy and Craigie High, which are going out for consultation, show the scale of our ambitions.”
Lynne Short, fairness and equalities spokeswoman said an example of the council’s work was a push to make Dundee the first UK Living Wage city.
And she pointed to initiatives to help vulnerable people such as providing free sanitary products and working with bus firms to offer reduced holiday fares.