Scottish Government’s index finds Scotland’s most deprived areas

More than one in ten Edinburgh neighbourhoods are considered areas of multiple deprivation, a new Scottish Government report has found. The Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation (SIMD) is compiled by the government every four years. It ranks every area of Scotland based on its income, level of employment and crime, as well as its access to healthcare, education and housing. The most deprived area is ranked at the top of the index, and the least deprived at the bottom.

Nationwide, Stockbridge in the North of Edinburgh was found to have the lowest level of deprivation, while parts of Greenock Town Centre in the West of Scotland occupied the highest position on the index.

In general, many parts of Edinburgh, including Morningside, Marchmont and Bruntsfield, can be found in the least deprived 20 per cent of the country. However, as many as 11 per cent of the city’s neighbourhoods fall within the most deprived 20 per cent of the country, including parts of Wester Hailes, Oxgangs and Restalrig as the most dire cases.

The most deprived area in Edinburgh was found to be Great Junction Street, Leith.

This contrasts with areas in the West of the country, including Inverclyde and Glasgow City, where 45 per cent and 44 per cent of areas fall within the most deprived fifth of the country respectively.

The SIMD is a metric designed by the government to identify areas of the country which are not only experiencing poverty and low income, but also lacking access to the necessary healthcare, education and other opportunities afforded to other parts of the country.

According to the Scottish Government: “The SIMD is a tool for identifying the places in Scotland where people are experiencing disadvantage across different aspects of their lives.

“SIMD ranks nearly 7,000 small areas, or data zones, covering the whole of Scotland from the most deprived to the least deprived and reports statistics on income, employment, health, education, access to services, crime, and housing.”

Scotland has often been referred to as ‘The Sick Man of Europe’ due to the high mortality rates compared to the rest of Europe, owing to poor healthcare and poverty. BBC News last year reported that as many as one in five people in Scotland live in relative poverty, news which came at the same time as the UK government planned to cut billions from the Scottish budget for social security before 2021.

According to Chris Clement, BBC Scotland’s Social Affairs correspondent: “There were few surprises in the latest SIMD update. There will also be little surprise in Inverclyde as Greenock town centre fell from rank 23 to the most-deprived community in Scotland.

“Why is this? It was the second-worst ranking area in terms of health outcome, mainly driven by its high number of drug-related hospital admissions. “It has among the lowest incomes and scores low on educational outcomes. Crime is also a driving factor.

“Councils already face a combined funding gap of more than £1 billion over the next three years, making the task of changing the fortunes of poorer communities all the more difficult.”

The areas considered deprived in this index are not necessarily suffering low income and poverty, but issues stemming from other problems such as crime or healthcare.

There are a number of charities and societies which aim to help underprivileged local people both on and off-campus. The People and Planet society at the University of Edinburgh is one example among many spaces for people who wish to campaign for social justice in the wake of these statistics.


Image: Mary and Angus Hogg via Geograph