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National Planning Framework for Scotland

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NATIONAL PLANNING FRAMEWORK FOR SCOTLAND

30. Scotland has areas of real economic vibrancy and some world class urban environments. In other areas, however, past industrial activity, economic change and poor land and urban management have left a legacy of social and environmental problems. There are still significant disparities in wealth and economic activity, with concentrations of disadvantage in parts of the West of Scotland and problems of overheating in the East. 22 of the 34 area-based social inclusion partnerships (SIPs) lie in the West of Scotland (see Map 7). While the 2001 census indicates that there have been some changes in patterns of inequality and deprivation, and there are clear signs of an economic upturn in parts of the Glasgow Conurbation, the difference between the West and East of Scotland remains.

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CLEAR SIGNS OF AN ECONOMIC UPTURN

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WITH A POPULATION OF NEARLY 600,000, GLASGOW IS SCOTLAND'S LARGEST CITY AND THE METROPOLITAN CENTRE FOR THE WEST OF SCOTLAND. AFTER A PERIOD OF MAJOR ECONOMIC RESTRUCTURING AND POPULATION DECLINE, GLASGOW IS SHOWING VERY POSITIVE SIGNS OF RECOVERY

photo31. The Review of Scotland's Cities examined the condition of the cities and their potential contribution to the country's future. It highlighted the distinctive characters of Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen, Dundee and Inverness and their important strategic role as drivers of economic activity.

32. Edinburgh's economic success is based on financial and business services, public administration, culture and tourism. Incomes are high, unemployment is low and the city is ranked very highly in quality of life indices. Both population and the number of households are projected to grow substantially. However, the city is coming up against constraints to future growth in the form of traffic congestion, difficulties in filling job vacancies, steeply rising land values, house price inflation, high commercial rents, and a shortage of development land. There is also concern that high prices are squeezing essential workers on lower incomes out of the housing market. The key challenge for Edinburgh is therefore the management of growth.

33. After a period of major economic restructuring and population decline, Glasgow is showing positive signs of recovery. It has outperformed the other Scottish cities in employment growth in recent years, with significant increases in the knowledge economy and the service sector. It is also attracting increasing numbers of tourists. However, the new prosperity co-exists with significant areas of poverty and dereliction and economic activity rates remain among the lowest in the UK. There are substantial areas of deeply-rooted social exclusion which remain poorly connected to growth areas in the city and surrounding region.