Showing posts with label Edinburgh. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Edinburgh. Show all posts

Friday, February 21, 2014

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.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

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...”

Thursday, December 20, 2012

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.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

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 high as the air quality standard, and up to 10 times higher than in nearby streets.

 Highly toxic diesel pollutants known as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, or PAHs, were four times higher than the relevant air quality standard, according to the report. They are blamed for causing cancers.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

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 their Glasgow  counterparts.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

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 room occupied by two married couples. I have been in one day in seven houses where there was no bed, in some of them not even straw. I found people of eighty years of age lying on the boards. Many sleep in the same clothes which they wear during the day. I may mention the case of two Scotch families living in a cellar, who had come from the country within a few months.... Since they came they had had two children dead, and another apparently dying. There was a little bundle of dirty straw in one corner, for one family, and in another for the other. In the place they inhabit it is impossible at noonday to distinguish the features of the human face without artificial light. – It would almost make a heart of adamant bleed to see such an accumulation of misery in a country like this."


In the Edinburgh Medical and Surgical Journal, Dr. Hennen reports a similar state of things. From a Parliamentary Report, it is evident that in the dwellings of the poor of Edinburgh a want of cleanliness reigns, such as must be expected under these conditions. On the bed-posts chickens roost at night, dogs and horses share the dwellings of human beings, and the natural consequence is a shocking stench, with filth and swarms of vermin. The prevailing construction of Edinburgh favours these atrocious conditions as far as possible. The Old Town is built upon both slopes of a hill, along the crest of which runs the High Street. Out of the High Street there open downwards multitudes of narrow, crooked alleys, called wynds from their many turnings, and these wynds form the proletarian district of the city. The houses of the Scotch cities, in general, are five or six-storied buildings, like those of Paris, and in contrast with England where, so far as possible, each family has a separate house. The crowding of human beings upon a limited area is thus intensified.

".....the house," says an English journal in an article upon the sanitary condition of the working-people in cities, "are often so close together, that persons may step from the window of one house to that of the house opposite – so high, piled story after story, that the light can scarcely penetrate to the court beneath. In this part of the town there are neither sewers nor any private conveniences whatever belonging to the dwellings; and hence the excrementitious and other refuse of at least 50,000 persons is, during the night, thrown into the gutters, causing (in spite of the scavengers' daily labours) an amount of solid filth and foetid exhalation disgusting to both sight and smell, as well as exceedingly prejudicial to health. Can it be wondered that, in such localities, health, morals, and common decency should be at once neglected? No; all who know the private condition of the inhabitants will bear testimony to the immense amount of their disease, misery, and demoralisation. Society in these quarters has sunk to a state indescribably vile and wretched.... The dwellings of the poorer classes are generally very filthy, apparently never subjected to any cleaning process whatever, consisting, in most cases, of a single room, ill-ventilated and yet cold, owing to broken, ill-fitting windows, sometimes damp and partially underground, and always scantily furnished and altogether comfortless, heaps of straw often serving for beds, in which a whole family – male and female, young and old, are huddled together in revolting confusion. The supplies of water are obtained only from the public pumps, and the trouble of procuring it of course favours the accumulation of all kinds of abominations."


Glasgow

Glasgow is in many respects similar to Edinburgh, possessing the same wynds, the same tall houses. Of this city the Artisan observes:

The working-class forms here some 78 per cent of the whole population (about 300,000), and lives in parts of the city "which, in abject wretchedness, exceed the lowest purlieus of St. Giles' or Whitechapel, the liberties of Dublin, or the wynds of Edinburgh. Such localities exist most abundantly in the heart of the city – south of the Irongate and west of the Saltmarket, as well as in the Calton, off the High Street, etc.– endless labyrinths of narrow lanes or wynds, into which almost at every step debouche courts or closes formed by old, ill-ventilated, towering houses crumbling to decay, destitute of water and crowded with inhabitants, comprising three or four families (perhaps twenty persons) on each flat, and sometimes each flat let out in lodgings that confine – we dare not say accommodate – from fifteen to twenty persons in a single room. These districts are occupied by the poorest, most depraved, and most worthless portion of the population, and they may be considered as the fruitful source of those pestilential fevers which thence spread their destructive ravages over the whole of Glasgow."

Let us hear how J. C. Symons, Government Commissioner for the investigation of the condition of the hand-weavers, describes these portions of the city:

"I have seen human degradation in some of its worst phases, both in England and abroad, but I did not believe until I visited the wynds of Glasgow, that so large an amount of filth, crime, misery, and disease existed in any civilised country. In the lower lodging-houses ten, twelve, and sometimes twenty persons of both sexes and all ages sleep promiscuously on the floor in different degrees of nakedness. These places are, generally, as regards dirt, damp and decay, such as no person would stable his horse in."

And in another place:

"The wynds of Glasgow house a fluctuating population of between 15,000 and 30,000 persons. This district is composed of many narrow streets and square courts and in the middle of each court there is a dung-hill. Although the outward appearance of these places was revolting, I was nevertheless quite unprepared for the filth and misery that were to be found inside. In some of these bedrooms we [i.e. Police Superintendent Captain Miller and Symons] visited at night we found a whole mass of humanity stretched out on the floor. There were often 15 to 20 men and women huddled together, some being clothed and others naked. Their bed was a heap of musty straw mixed with rags. There was hardly any furniture there and the only thing which gave these holes the appearance of a dwelling was fire burning on the hearth. Thieving and prostitution are the main sources of income of these people. No one seems to have taken the trouble to clean out these Augean stables, this pandemonium, this nucleus of crime, filth and pestilence in the second city of the empire. A detailed investigation of the most wretched slums of other towns has never revealed anything half so bad as this concentration of moral iniquity, physical degradation and gross overcrowding.... In this part of Glasgow most of the houses have been condemned by the Court of Guild as dilapidated and uninhabitable – but it is just these dwellings which are filled to overflowing, because, by law no rent can be charged on them."


Condition of the Working Class in England, by Engels, 1845

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

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 the high hire costs charged by the city's best-known venues. Performers are typically forced to hand over 40 per cent of their box-office takings to such venues.


Tuesday, January 25, 2011

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.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

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 the disaster-hit trams project must go ahead because too much money has been spent to cancel it.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

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.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

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 those that were half an hour are now 15 minutes. All these things can contribute to someone not getting what they need, and perhaps because of all this some people aren't getting picked up by the services who would have been before"

The next closest health board for malnutrition numbers was Glasgow, where there were 166 cases. In neighbouring Fife there were 67 cases and 38 incidents in the Borders

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

cynicism and scepticism

The Big Issue carries 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 give Labour any of the credit. “They haven’t done anything for this area at all. I don’t really care if the Tory boy gets in – it can’t be any worse than Labour.”
One of her neighbours, 63-year-old Peter Kane, concurs. “The area’s got a hell of a lot better. A hell of a lot. I remember the days when you couldn’t even walk about safely in the daytime.” but he won’t put any of the improvement down to Labour politicians in London or Edinburgh. “The thing that sickened me was the MPs’ expenses,” he tuts. “They’ve been screwing us at every opportunity, and I don’t see any reason to vote for Labour now.”

As Socialist Courier says "Tweedledum or Tweedledee"

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