Deprivation map shows Borders divide

A BURNFOOT community councillor believes turning round the quality of life on the Hawick estate will happen later rather than sooner.

It follows Burnfoot being named one of the most deprived areas of Scotland in a national report.

Michael Grieve says poverty is evident every day in the community, with a lack of jobs among the main concerns.

Mr Grieve, who represented the Labour Party at this year’s council elections, said: “Deprivation is here. However, when it is brought up at area forums or community councils it is swept under the table.

“We have really high levels of unemployment and things are only going to get worse with the welfare cuts coming. Fuel poverty is also an issue and child poverty is double that of another area of the town, which shows there is a marked divide.

“There is a stigma attached to living in Burnfoot, and it is going to take a long time before people choose to come and live here.”

The Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation map split the country into 6,505 data zones and rated each against seven factors – income, employment, crime, geographic access, education, housing and health.

Overall, Burnfoot was within the top five per cent of Scotland’s most deprived, as well as specifically for income and education indicators.

Mr Grieve added: “They need to bring jobs to Hawick. The problem at the moment is people who are unemployed need transport to get a job, but this is often not affordable.

“However, there is still great community spirit in Burnfoot, which you see every year in the carnival, and we also have plans for a community bonfire next year.”

In terms of specific factors, a number of Borders areas were also listed among the top five per cent most deprived.

The Gala Park area of Galashiels was one of the worst in Scotland for health and a northern section of the town – including the High Street and Channel Street – was named among the most crime-hit districts in the country.

The transport issues of the region were highlighted by nearly a sixth of the Borders’ 130 data zones being listed in the five per cent most difficult to access nationally, with the tiny communities in the Hermitage area of Roxburghshire top of the list.

Close behind were the Ettrick and Yarrow valleys and Selkirkshire councillor Michelle Ballantyne, who lives in Ettrick, said poor infrastructure links result in a number of consequences for those trying to survive in rural locations.

She added: “If you live in a remote area such as Ettrick and Yarrow valleys, you are more likely to have no mobile phone or broadband coverage, and have to use roads which can be dangerous or impossible to use at times. For a young person looking for work, it means owning a car and paying a lot for petrol.

“I know Julie Nock (Ettrick and Yarrow valleys regeneration officer) is doing work on the concept of employment in the valleys to enable people to work from where they live.”

The west section of Langlee was also named in the 10 per cent most deprived in terms of employment, but Judith Cleghorn, chair of Langlee Residents Association, does not believe the estate is worse off than anywhere else.

She told us: “I think everyone is in need of a boost and the problem of a lack of jobs is something that is affecting everywhere, not just Langlee.

There is plenty going on here and plenty of hope on the estate,” she added, with the LRA attempting to set up a credit union for locals in 2013.

On the other end of the scale, an area covering Romanno Bridge and Carlops in Peeblesshire was within the top two per cent for health in Scotland and Minto near Hawick among the wealthiest.

And the difference of a few miles was also highlighted in the Scottish Government paper, with Bannerfield in Selkirk marked the eighth most deprived area in the Borders, despite a southern section of the town among the country’s least deprived at 5,843.