Scottish poverty hotspot identified as North Ayrshire

NORTH Ayrshire has one of the highest poverty levels in the country, shock new figures reveal.

Almost one in four households are living in poverty.

The shocking statistic is the third highest in Scotland and, at 23 per cent, is on a par with Glasgow.

The highest at 25 per cent is Western Isles closely followed by Dundee City at 24 per cent.

The lowest is East Renfrewshire at 14 per cent with the Scottish average standing at 19 per cent.

This week the figures were described as a wake-up call by Cunninghame South MSP Irene Oldfather.

She said they illustrated the need for politicians from all parties to redouble their efforts to fight poverty. Mrs Oldfather said: “These figures confirm what we all know – North Ayrshire has been faced with large-scale structural, chronic unemployment that dates back to the job losses from ICI and other industries.

“We must make sure that future generations don’t continue to pay the price for events which they could not have any control over.

“Irvine Bay Regeneration is a step in the right direction.

“However, that should not be an end in itself, but rather the foundation on which we build a stronger community that breaks the cycle of inequalities existing in North Ayrshire.”

During a Scottish Parliament debate in June, Mrs Oldfather highlighted the 14-year gap in life expectancy between Fullarton in Irvine and Fairlie just 14 miles to the north.

She highlighted the need for direct intervention from the Scottish Government.

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