De­pri­va­tion on our doorstep

Lo­cal ar­eas are still strug­gling, de­spite boom in jobs

Rutherglen Reformer - - News - Edel Ke­nealy

Neigh­bour­hoods in Ruther­glen and Cam­bus­lang re­main among the most de­prived ar­eas in Scot­land, de­spite huge job op­por­tu­ni­ties on their doorstep, a new re­port has re­vealed.

Re­search by the Joseph Rown­tree Foun­da­tion ( JRF) shows peo­ple liv­ing in so­cially de­prived ar­eas such as Burn­hill, Whit­law­burn and Castlemilk are be­ing left be­hind, whilst Greater Glas­gow pros­pers through eco­nomic growth.

Pub­lished this month, the re­port shows there are more jobs avail­able in Glas­gow than peo­ple of work­ing age. Yet one in three peo­ple liv­ing there are out of work.

And the pic­ture is the same for Ruther­glen and Cam­bus­lang as vast swathes of both towns are classed pri­mary em­ploy­ment zones - ar­eas of high de­pri­va­tion, but also a high num­ber of jobs.

The re­port, Over­com­ing De­pri­va­tion and Dis­con­nec­tion in UK Cities, found some Ruther­glen and Cam­bus­lang com­mu­ni­ties are un­able to share in the coun­try’s record em­ploy­ment lev­els be­cause peo­ple liv­ing there are dis­con­nected from the jobs on of­fer. This is of­ten be­cause they lack the skills to take up the avail­able roles. Health prob­lems and the type and qual­ity of jobs are also bar­ri­ers.

Paul Far­rell, di­rec­tor of West Whit­law­burn Hous­ing Co­op­er­a­tive, said: “On the face of it the re­sults of the re­port are quite sur­pris­ing. The lev­els of poverty we are wit­ness­ing in Whit­law­burn cur­rently are un­prece­dented.

“The re­la­tion­ship be­tween va­can­cies and those seek­ing work is much more com­plex than a crude numer­i­cal anal­y­sis of labour sup­ply and de­mand.

“There are nu­mer­ous sys­temic bar­ri­ers which ex­ist which need to be over­come. Bar­ri­ers such as trans­port links, fam­ily care of chil­dren and the el­derly, con­fi­dence, es­teem, qual­i­fi­ca­tions, skill sets, aware­ness of and ac­cess to va­can­cies are all present dif­fi­cul­ties in s e c u r ing em­ploy­ment.”

Josh Stott, head of cities at JRF, said: “Cities are en­gines of growth and many have cre­ated sig­nif­i­cant num­bers of jobs in re­cent years.

“They have rightly been the fo­cus of at­tempts to re­bal­ance the econ­omy, but this anal­y­sis shows peo­ple and places have been left be­hind, de­spite see­ing ris­ing pros­per­ity on their doorsteps.

“Our re­search shows how ris­ing em­ploy­ment alone will not tackle en­trenched pock­ets of de­pri­va­tion. To make Bri­tain work for all, we need to con­nect growth in cities to de­prived neigh­bour­hoods, and an in­dus­trial strat­egy which pro­vides skills that busi­ness needs.”

A spokesman for Glas­gow City Coun­cil said: “This re­port re­flects our own un­der­stand­ing of the eco­nomic chal­lenges fac­ing Glas­gow and its part­ner au­thor­i­ties.

“The Glas­gow City Re­gion City Deal will ul­ti­mately pro­vide a £ 1.13bil­lion stim­u­lus that will clearly pro­vide a sig­nif­i­cant boost to the Clyde Val­ley econ­omy.

“We are very much fo­cused on boost­ing skills, im­prov­ing health and tack­ling in­equal­i­ties as the route to en­hanc­ing peo­ple’s job prospects.”

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