ADULTS in Glasgow have some of the poorest levels of formal education anywhere in the UK, according to new figures.

Statistics collected by the UCU lecturers union show parts of the city have high proportions of adults who have no qualifications compared to the rest of the country.

There is also a wide gulf in attainment between Glasgow and Edinburgh with five out of Glasgow's seven Westminster constituencies having an above-average number of working-age people with no qualifications.

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In Edinburgh, only one of its seven constituencies falls below the average.

The Westminster constituency of North-East Glasgow has the highest proportion of adults without any qualifications in Britain with 27.5%, closely followed by neighbouring Glasgow East at 26.2%.

Fourteen out of the top 15 constituencies for low attainment in Scotland are in west and central Scotland, with only Edinburgh East falling in the top 15 with 14.9% of adults without qualifications.

West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine has the highest level of attainment in Scotland, with just 4.3% of residents holding no qualifications.

UCU Scotland official Mary Senior said: "This research shows that access to the benefits that education brings is heavily rationed in Scotland today with some constituencies in the west having almost seven times more people without qualifications than others in the east of Scotland.

"We live in a fast-changing knowledge economy where education is vital to improving employment chances, life chances and for society.

"It is this knowledge economy that will drive economic growth and enhance social mobility.

"Politicians must continue to increase access to educational opportunities. Given the opportunity, everyone can benefit from education."

However, a spokeswoman for Glasgow City Council attacked the figures as "flawed".

"They do not reflect the true picture of education attainment in Glasgow because some of the adults included in the statistics will be over the age of 40 and at school when examinations were not universally available to them," she said.

"Just this week, we have published the positive destination figures for our young people and they are at an all-time high."

A Scottish Government spokeswoman said ministers were taking action to ensure more people had access to qualifications.

"We are maintaining college numbers, have a record number of Scots in higher education and we have also guaranteed a place in training or education for every 16 to 19-year-old," she said.

"Progress is being made, as can be seen from the welcome increase in the number of Glasgow school-leavers going into positive destinations, and particularly higher education.

"We are working to raise attainment in our schools to help ensure our employees of the future have the qualifications they need."

UCU ranked the 632 Westminster parliamentary constituencies in England, Scotland and Wales according to the percentage of working-age people aged 16 to 64 who have no qualifications.

Scotland's national rate for people without qualifications – 11.6% – is higher than the British average of 10.7% and the equivalent rate for England of 10.4%.

The UCU pointed to evidence which showed the benefits to the economy of funding people to improve their education, and described the analysis as the reason why politicians of all parties should ensure that everyone has access to the opportunities that education provides.

According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, public spending on education as a proportion of GDP is, at 5.6%, lower in the UK than in many competitor countries and is significantly lower at both pre-primary and tertiary levels.