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Latest SIMD figures published

Posted on 30 Jan 2020

The latest update of the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation (SIMD) has reconfirmed the deep structural challenges faced by many communities in North Ayrshire despite steady progress by North Ayrshire Council in its ongoing commitment to eradicate poverty.

The SIMD stats, published this week by Scotland's Chief Statistician, are used as a tool to identify the places in Scotland where people are experiencing disadvantage across different aspects of their lives.

North Ayrshire Council Leader Joe Cullinane said the new report highlights the clear challenges facing North Ayrshire and the need for Government support to reduce deprivation.

“We welcome the new SIMD report as it shows the need for investment and support if we are to have the type of economy which works for everyone and leaves no-one behind,” said the Council Leader.

“It’s clear here in North Ayrshire that we suffer from regional inequalities and the report highlights the need for central government to recognise fragile economies like ours when allocating resources.

“We will soon be setting our own Budget for 2020/21 and, based on the best forecasts available, will be expecting to cut as much as £17m next year.

“This is on top of cuts of more than £100m from our Budget over the past decade – that is unsustainable and only hinders us in our fight to reduce inequalities and eradicate deprivation.”

The revised SIMD shows that North Ayrshire is ranked as the fifth most deprived Council area in Scotland – the same rank it was given in the last SIMD report in 2016.

The report indicates that some of the areas most heavily affected by deprivation are concentrated in the Three Towns and Irvine areas but areas in Kilwinning and the Garnock Valley also have above average deprivation.

North Ayrshire Council is aiming to turn these figures around and last year launched its new Council Plan for the five-year period 2019-2024 – called ‘North Ayrshire: A Council that is Fair for All’.

The plan focuses on making North Ayrshire a fairer and more equal society for local residents and communities.

Six months on from the launch, the Council is well on track to delivering the 116 actions aimed at making North Ayrshire Fair for All.

The Council is also leading the way in in reshaping the area’s economy though initiatives such as a Basic Income Pilot and launching first Child Poverty Action Plan in partnership with NHS Ayrshire and Arran.

Significant progress has also been made in ensuring local communities are actively involved in playing their part. Through the successful Locality Partnerships and ongoing development of a Community Charter, the Council and local communities are coming together in recognition that everyone has a part to play in making North Ayrshire fairer. 

One of the key strands of the Council’s ambitions is the development of a Community Wealth Building approach.  This would see local people and businesses benefit from the wealth of the Council and other major public sector organisations.

The Council has been working alongside the Centre for Local Economic Strategies, the recognised experts in the UK for Community Wealth Building, to help develop strategies that can have a huge and positive influence for North Ayrshire.

Councillor Cullinane added: “We want nothing more than a North Ayrshire that is free from inequalities and deprivation.

“Community Wealth Building can be the foundation for us to build a new economic model for North Ayrshire – one which keeps money circulating in North Ayrshire and creates good, well paid jobs for local residents.

“This approach has been proven to work in other places and there is no reason why we can’t lead the way on being the first in Scotland to implement a successful Community Wealth Building approach.”