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Recent study shows increasing wealth gap between Edinburgh’s neighborhoods

A sharp lifestyle contrast between Edinburgh’s wealthiest and poorest residents has been illustrated by recent figures released by the Scottish Government through the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation (SIMD).

The SIMD, which assesses indicators such as income, health, education, employment, crime rates, and housing, showed that Edinburgh hosts six out of the top 100 most deprived areas in Scotland, but also five out of top ten least deprived neighbourhoods.

The research also suggests increased deprivation in the city over the past four years. Two more neighbourhoods were included in the list of the 100 most deprived areas in Scotland. The most deprived neighbourhood in Edinburgh was found to be Muirhouse, which was ranked as the sixth most disadvantaged area in Scotland.

Restalrig and Lochend, Niddrie, Craigmillar, Murrayburn and Westerhailes, The Calders, Clovenstone, and Bingham also joined Muirhouse in the top five per cent of the most deprived areas in Edinburgh.

However, the survey also revealed that many of Scotland’s least deprived neighbourhoods are situated in Edinburgh. These regions include Marchmont West, Comely Bank, Joppa, and Bruntsfield.

Ben Macpherson, MSP for Edinburgh North and Leith spoke to The Student about certain factors contributing to the deprivation disparity in the city.

“The financial crisis, subsequent recession and decisions of Tory UK Ministers have all negatively affected equality in our communities. UK government Welfare Reform has had a particularly negative impact on the vulnerable,” Macpherson told The Student.

Despite this, he continued to say that the Scottish Government had taken action “where it could,” citing the Scottish Welfare Fund and the government’s modification of the ‘Bedroom Tax’ as evidence of this action.

Macpherson added that the SNP government unveiled new plans which aim to tackle deprivation disparity across Scotland.

“Using new powers, this week the Scottish Government outlined further measures to address poverty and inequality, including a Child Poverty Bill, a Social Security Bill and, later in the parliamentary term, a Warm Homes Bill,” Macpherson said.

City of Edinburgh Council leader, Andrew Burns, also spoke to The Student about the wealth gap made evident by the SIMD results.

“No one should have to live in poverty and these statistics show that unfortunately poverty does exist side by side with wealth in the capital,” he told The Student.

He also went on to say that closing the gap between the richest and poorest neighbourhoods in Edinburgh was a “huge and complex issue,” but that the council was dedicated to decreasing it through various projects.

“The Capital Coalition is committed to reducing deprivation and inequality and the damaging effect this can have on the city’s communities,” Burns said.

He continued: “The Council has made positive steps in recent years by providing good access to healthcare, quality housing and investing heavily in early years’ education.

“A successful child poverty pilot project in our schools is now being rolled out across the city and a lot of really positive work is taking place in our schools which has resulted in improved exam results and increased positive destinations.”

Burns highlighted that the council would continue to “try and minimise the impact of deprivation” through creating job opportunities, increasing access to these jobs, and improving health and wellbeing of residents in the city’s poorest regions.

 

Image: SIMD2016

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The Student Newspaper 2016