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Fact of the Day

More than 50,000 families are living below the poverty line in Edinburgh, Scotland's most affluent city. Edinburgh is exposed as "a city divided" in a report that shows that despite average incomes being 9% above the rest of Scotland, one in five households is living below the poverty threshold.

The poverty line is measured at £125 per week if people are single, £258 if they are a single parent family and £349 for a couple with two children.

Still Auld Reekie

The number of Edinburgh streets affected by transport pollution has increased.


There are now an additional six miles of streets that have been deemed officially polluted in the capital. Tourist areas Princes Street, George Street, most of the Royal Mile and the Grassmarket are all now included. Gorgie Road, London Road and some of Easter Road also make up the additional six miles of polluted streets.

Dr Richard Dixon, Friends of the Earth Scotland's director, said: "Pollution from cars, vans, buses and lorries are still making the capital's air bad for our health...”

Education - a fail mark

Boroughmuir High School in Edinburgh came joint first in Scotland, (along with Glasgow’s Jordanhill School), after figures released showed 69 per cent of S5 pupils obtained three Highers or more. A few miles away not one student left either Wester Hailes Education Centre or Castlebrae Community High with a Higher, let alone the qualifications needed for a university place.

In Glasgow, just 5 per cent of students at Govan High School obtained three or more Highers, while schools in deprived areas of Aberdeen and Dundee also performed poorly.

Meanwhile Scotland's university for the elite, St Andrews, where Prince William and Kate Middleton studied, is accused of failing to enrol students from the poorest backgrounds - only 13 students from the most deprived backgrounds of the country in 2010/11 – 2.7% of the student intake.

A capital welcome

25 million people use Edinburgh Waverley station annually. Hundreds work there eachday and thousands pass though it daily

Exhaust fumes from trains and taxis, coupled with toxic dust kicked up by construction works, are endangering the health of commuters, tourists and workers – particularly those with asthma, lung or heart conditions, experts say.

 Scientists measured levels of nitrogen dioxide, a gas emitted by vehicle exhausts that damages the lungs, blood and immune system, at four locations around the concourse. They found average levels varying from 205 to 304 micrograms per cubic metre, compared with the annual average "air quality standard" of 40 required by European law. The concentrations of nitrogen dioxide in the station were four to six times higher than in the surrounding streets.

 Scientists also found high levels of tiny particles known as PM10s, which inflame lung tissue and increase the risk of heart attacks and strokes. They were nearly twice as …

Grin and bear it

WhatClinic.com surveyed more than 3000 private dentists in the UK, including 50 in Glasgow and 30 in Edinburgh. Overall, it found that the average cost of a standard check-up in private dental practices has risen by 22 per cent in just one year.

Private dental patients in Edinburgh are paying almost double the cost of treatment in Glasgow, it has been claimed. The average cost of a standard consultation in the city has risen to £74 – the second highest rate in Britain – compared with just £27 in Scotland’s second city. There is also a wide disparity in the cost of more complex procedures, with a bridge costing £443 in Edinburgh compared with £293 in Glasgow, dentures set patients back £473 compared with £260 while a dental implant costs an average of £2273 in the Capital – more than £800 more than in the west.

Overall, private healthcare comparison company WhatClinic.com said that patients in the Capital were having to fork out an average of 42 per cent more for treatment compared with …

Engels on Edinburgh and Glasgow

Edinburgh

Dr. Alison describes a similar state of things in Edinburgh, whose superb situation, which has won it the title of the modern Athens, and whose brilliant aristocratic quarter in the New Town, contrast strongly with the foul wretchedness of the poor in the Old Town. Alison asserts that this extensive quarter is as filthy and horrible as the worst districts of Dublin, while the Mendicity Association would have as great a proportion of needy persons to assist in Edinburgh as in the Irish capital. He asserts, indeed, that the poor in Scotland, especially in Edinburgh and Glasgow, are worse off than in any other region of the three kingdoms, and that the poorest are not Irish, but Scotch. The preacher of the Old Church of Edinburgh, Dr. Lee, testified in 1836, before the Commission of Religious Instruction, that:

"I have never seen such a concentration of misery as in this parish," where the people are without furniture, without everything. "I frequently see the same…

Free Access

A spirit of free comedy has broken out in Edinburgh as performers and festival-goers shun expensive venues in favour of free shows. 607 out of 2,542 shows at the Edinburgh Fringe, which began last weekend, are free of charge, the highest proportion in the festival's history. The Free Fringe, a spin-off under the overall Fringe umbrella, has 40 per cent more participating shows than last year.

"Smaller venues, which are lent to artists free of charge, represent a better deal for the public and artist," said Free Fringe founder Peter Buckley Hill. "It's always the case that if you have good shows at zero pounds a ticket, and good shows that cost more, people will come to the free shows. It's more in keeping with the spirit of the festival." Buckley Hill, says“is almost a moneyless exercise”, adding, “we have found the right way of doing this – it is taking the Fringe back”.

The Free Fringe was founded in 1996 as a counterpoint to…

edinburgh-unequalled

The gap between rich and poor in Edinburgh is bigger than in most other UK cities. Centre for Cities analyst Paul Swinney said:"It shows that despite Edinburgh's very strong performance in the ten years before the recession, that prosperity was not necessarily shared equally."

It ranked eighth for earnings, with an average weekly wage of £516.70.

that's clever!

Inverclyde Council spent £650,000 in order to make savings of just £250,000.

Four senior local government officials, all of whom receive salaries of between £75,000 and £105,000, have been suspended after paying consultants hundreds of thousands of pounds to deliver savings that failed to materialise.

Meanwhile, in Edinburgh the city’s new chief executive has said thedisaster-hit trams project must go ahead because too much money has been spent to cancel it.

capital fuel poverty

Nearly one in four Edinburgh residents fear they will be unable to afford to heat their home, in another sign of the impact of the economic downturn and rising energy bills said an authoritative survey of more than 1000 residents commissioned by the city council.

Elizabeth Gore, a spokeswoman for Energy Action Scotland, the national charity that aims to eliminate fuel poverty, said:
"It is a worry, especially as people start to think ahead to the winter. We would be concerned about people not being able to afford to heat their homes." She said that, while elderly groups and parents with young children remained the groups affected most by "fuel poverty", many other groups - such as young people in rented accommodation - were also struggling to pay their bills.

old and starving

Almost twice as many pensioners in the Lothians are admitted to hospital with malnutrition than anywhere else in Scotland, figures have shown. Latest figures show six malnourished people over the age of 65 are now being treated every week, a rise of around a dozen on last year. A mixture of care cutbacks and the increasing number of elderly residents in the area have been suggested for the cases.

Experts said the majority of victims would be elderly people who lived alone and were "under the radar" as far as local authority support services were concerned.

Phyllis Herriot, acting secretary of the Scottish Pensioners' Forum, said: "This is a very sad figure, and quite awful for those involved. It's horrible to think that this can happen in this day and age. There have been a lot of cutbacks, not just in Edinburgh but across the board. Sheltered Housing complexes are losing their wardens, home-help visits that used to be an hour are now cut to half an hour, and thos…

cynicism and scepticism

The Big Issuecarries an article on Edinburgh's rich/poor divide .JK Rowling has written about the shock of first moving to a council estate in the city and finding “violence, crime and addiction were part of everyday life in that part of Edinburgh… yet barely 10 minutes away was a different world, a world of cashmere and cream teas”.

Susan Carr, who runs the Craigmillar Neighbourhood Alliance explains how an ongoing regeneration project has stalled due to the economic downturn.“Given we’re only 10 minutes from parliament, in one of the wealthiest cities in Europe, the level of deprivation does seem outrageous...”
Carr’s colleague Norrie Davis, a lifelong Craigmillar man, says they are all “living in hope” that a new secondary school and library will be completed and that half-finished homes will be sold. “Everything’s slowed down because of the recession..."

Kirsty McLaron, 33, says “things have quietened down an awful lot, apart from one of two troublemakers”, but she doesn’t …