A REPORT billed as being the first comprehensive study on the well-being of children has found that an estate in Dundee has the worst record for child poverty in the UK.

In south Whitfield, on the outskirts of the city, 96.1% of children are living in poverty, the highest proportion in Britain, according to the report called the Well-being of Children in the UK by Save the Children.

The second highest poverty rate in Scotland was at Keppochhill, Glasgow (94.4%) and the lowest was recorded at Kilmardinny, East Dunbartonshire, where the figure was 0.7%, second in the UK only to Gerrards Cross in Buckinghamshire (0.5%).

The report prompted a call for action by the Scottish Executive from John McAllion, Labour MSP for Dundee East, who said the opportunities for young

people were dwindling and specific economic policies should be developed.

Mr McAllion said: ''We need economic policies that are actually aimed at the people living in the city. An increased level of public expenditure to develop a better rail network and better infrastructure would benefit everyone.''

Willie Sawers, councillor for Whitfield, said youth facilities had been a priority for Dundee City Council in recent years.

He said: ''For young people there is the Whitfield activity complex, there is youth workers in the area, and various outreach projects from the schools. There are problems in Whitfield, nobody denies that, but it is certainly not perhaps as bad as this report is portraying.''

Julie Sturrock, council leader, said: ''The real facts about Whitfield are that millions of pounds have been ploughed into the area as part of a massive regeneration programme.'' Susan Elsey, assistant director of Save the Children in Scotland, said more research was needed to address the wide and varied problems related to child welfare, and that yesterday's report was just the first benchmark.

She said: ''There is still a long way to go in tackling child poverty in Scotland, and without detailed monitoring of children's well-being it is difficult to see how the Scottish Executive will be able to confront these complex problems.''

Based on data from a number of sources including the Oxford University Social Deprivation Unit and collated by York University, the report brings together all aspects of life affecting children, including education, diet, mental well-being, smoking, and alcohol and drugs use.

The report also found that children and young people in Scotland have the highest level of educational achievement, with nearly 10% more, at 78.6%, involved in either full-time school or further education than in England, but had the worst diet.

The most widely-used criteria in terms of poverty used in the report is based on the premise that a household earning (pounds) 145 a week after housing costs falls under the poverty line. However, for Whitfield, Oxford University based its 1998 findings on the numbers of children living in a family that was receiving benefits compared to the number of children in the area.

Jack McConnell, the first

minister, will outline how the executive's spending review will benefit young people in care in Dundee when he visits the Fairbairn accommodation complex in the city today.

l Eastbank Academy in Shettleston, Glasgow - one of Britain's poorest areas - is the first school to open a dedicated police station to help control pupils.


Dundee boasts a strong academic profile with more students per head of population than almost anywhere else in the country.

The city is at the forefront of cancer research, and scientists at Dundee University are credited with discovering the cancer-related gene p53, now the most researched gene in the world.

There is more parkland per head of population in Dundee than anywhere else in the UK.

The growth of the science and technology industries has been key to the ''renaissance'' of Dundee. The NCR plant is said to have manufactured one third of the world's ATM machines.

The Verdant Works, which tells the story of the jute mills, was voted European industrial museum of the year and Dundee Rep is home to Scotland's only ensemble company of actors.

Charles Handy writes in The New Alchemists: ''We need more Dundees if our societies are going to be places of 'cultivation'... Dundee's mix of art and science means it is well poised to become a model for the 21st century.''