LOCAL government spending cuts are creating a more divided society by leaving councils in the poorest parts of Scotland around £100 worse off per person than the richest, research has found.

According to the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) report, the west of Scotland is suffering more than the east.

Local government spending is set to fall by 24% in Scotland, with warnings that cash-strapped councils will end up serving only the neediest fraction of the population while wider services are cut.

The JRF report, 'Coping With Cuts? Local Government And Poorer Communities', said there was also a danger of increased social division, with resentment growing amongst the better-off for paying for services which do not benefit them and which are used almost exclusively by poorer citizens.

John Low, JRF policy and research manager, said: "It is clear the cuts are biting deep into the poorest and most deprived communities.

"Unless we can muster the national will to correct or mitigate the unacceptable divergence of resources between more and less affluent authorities, we are slowly but inexorably creating a more divided society."

Researchers analysed the scale and pattern of spending cuts in Scottish and English local government since the Westminster Coalition took power in 2010. The study found attempts had been made to protect services used by the public, with most of the budget cuts made through back office costs.

But areas where savings can be made across local government are "rapidly diminishing" and people will be expected to do more for themselves, such as running leisure centres, caring for elderly neighbours and picking up litter, the report said.