St An­drews ‘in­equal­ity’ gap af­fect­ing chil­dren

The Courier & Advertiser (Angus and The Mearns Edition) - - NEWS -

It is one of the most af­flu­ent towns in Scot­land and one of its streets was re­cently iden­ti­fied as the most ex­pen­sive north of the bor­der – and with its fan­tas­tic qual­ity of life, it’s one of the most de­sir­able places to live in the UK.

But along­side the hal­lowed turf of the golf cour­ses and the spires of the univer­sity, there ex­ists a con­sid­er­able amount of hid­den poverty in St An­drews – and gen­er­ally more in­equal­ity than most peo­ple re­alise.

The sit­u­a­tion has been high­lighted by Emma Bar­ton and her hus­band Paul, both 34, who live in a twobed­room coun­cil bun­ga­low with their four daugh­ters, Lexi, 3, Lily, 7, Skye, 9, and Naomi, 11.

With the chil­dren shar­ing one room and her hus­band reg­is­tered dis­abled, she says the fam­ily are des­per­ately in need of a larger house.

How­ever, Emma, who is head house keeper at the St An­drews Premier Inn, says the lack of coun­cil hous­ing, “over-priced” pri­vate ten­an­cies, and de­pen­dency on a rel­a­tively low sin­gle wage mean they are trapped in a state of poverty.

“So many peo­ple have been com­ing into St An­drews, buy­ing prop­er­ties, do­ing them up and let­ting them out to stu­dents, that there’s ac­tu­ally no avail­able pick­ings for peo­ple need­ing a house who ac­tu­ally live in St An­drews,” she said. “St An­drews has this im­age of golf, the univer­sity and £3 mil­lion houses. But that de­scrip­tion sounds like an alien place for many peo­ple.

“It seems like it’s all aimed at tourists and stu­dents and they to­tally for­get about peo­ple who ac­tu­ally live in the town.”

The Bar­ton fam­ily have not used a food­bank.

Emma said: “I’ve thought about it but would rather miss meals. I’d rather leave it for some­one who is in dire need.”

But the hard­est thing, she said, is telling the chil­dren they can’t go on hol­i­day or can’t do ex­tra school ac­tiv­i­ties.

Emma Bar­ton with Naomi, Lily, Lexi and Skye.

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