IN the 1960s, planners blasted a motorway through the urban sprawl of Springburn and with it sprung up what some have now described as a ghetto.

Today, it is recognised as the home constituency of Michael Martin, speaker of the House of Commons; a place where more than 40% of the population live in poverty; and the main enclave of the city chosen to house refugees, in Sighthill.

Other labels include the poorest constituency in Scotland and the second most unhealthy in Britain.

The contrasts in the area are evident from the relatively conservative rows of tenements in Dennistoun, to the notorious Red Road flats.

Residents, the majority of whom are working class and Catholic, felt that they had been left out of the equation as the city welcomed asylum seekers, a feeling compounded earlier this year when the Springburn Museum closed.

Despite being the first community museum in Europe, and a vociferous campaign to save it, city councillors said they could not find a (pounds) 30,000 lifeline.

Over the last 14 months, there have been more than 70 racist attacks in the Sighthill area. Today it is home to more than 1500 asylum seekers.

The fiercely Labour constituency, which has an unemployment rate 140% higher than Scotland's average, was laid to waste in 1985 when it was announced that British Rail Engineering was to close as part of mass privatisation plans.

More than 1200 workers lost their jobs and, with the closure, Springburn lost its identity. Under successive Conservative governments, there was little aid for the area.

These days, death from lung cancer is twice the Scottish average, and the proportion of children leaving school without Standard grades is four times higher.

With an average household income of (pounds) 13,310 and male unemployment running at about 13% - the highest level in Scotland - the area is further blighted by alcoholism, drug addiction and crime.