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November 4, 2009

What happens once the ring fencing goes?

The regeneration of our most deprived communities has always involved a certain amount of targeted resources – most recently the Fairer Scotland Fund, a ring-fenced cash allocation to Councils. From April next year,ring fenced restrictions become a thing of the past.  With the all the other pressures on public finances, there’s a lot concern as to how this will impact on front line services.  Govt and COSLA have published a new joint statement to clarify their respective positions

For decades, there have been areas in Scotland where a variety of complex, interrelated factors such as economic decline, unemployment, low levels of educational attainment, and poor health have combined to create concentrated multiple deprivation and significant challenges for the people living there.

These are our most disadvantaged communities, and for the past thirty years a series of national programmes have attempted to accelerate improved living conditions, opportunities and outcomes in local areas. By targeting ring-fenced investment, government at national and local level has been trying to reduce the socio-economic inequality that exists between these communities and the rest of Scotland.

Despite the best efforts of these community regeneration programmes, stark inequalities between geographical communities persist. There are still too many communities in Scotland experiencing very high levels of multiple deprivation relative to their neighbours. Release of the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation 2009 (SIMD 09) demonstrates this once again.

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