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Review could open up funding for ‘new’ deprived areas

By SPP Reporter

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Councillor Margaret Paterson
Councillor Margaret Paterson

A REVIEW is to take place of the areas in the Highlands considered to be “deprived” and therefore eligible for extra funding.

At present parts of Ross-shire, Caithness and Inverness have been given the deprivation label based on high levels of unemployment and homelessness.

As such, they are entitled to funding from an annual £416,000 Deprived Area Fund for projects aimed at creating jobs.

Sutherland does not have any areas classed as deprived and no access to the extra cash.

The issue was discussed at a planning, environment and development committee meeting in Inverness this week.

Veteran Ross-shire councillor Margaret Paterson said the list of deprived areas appeared not to have changed in years.

“It’s the same areas getting it (money from the fund) time and time again for as long as I have been a councillor. Is there an opportunity for other areas to be in it?” she asked.

Councillor Paterson said she was concerned that planned welfare reforms could plunge even more communities into deprivation.

“All those welfare reforms mean there is going to be quite a lot of areas affected. I just wonder what the future holds because everybody is absolutely struggling,” she said.

Highland council employability team leader Bob Mackinnon told the meeting that a review of the areas eligible to share in the fund would start next month.

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