SEXUAL health experts have said that more needs to be done to tackle the link between inequality and teenage pregnancy after new figures revealed stark divide between the rich and poor in Scotland.

Government figures have found that girls in the most deprived areas are five times more likely to fall pregnant than their peers living in more affluent postcodes.

In the poorest areas, 1,313 teenagers gave birth and 573 had an abortion in 2015 while in the least deprived areas 104 gave birth and there were 261 terminations.

Dundee City Council had the highest rate of teenage pregnancy across Scotland at 51.8 per 1,000, while East Dunbartonshire had the lowest at 15.3.

Natika Halil, Chief Executive of the Family Planning Association said that there should be wider access to confidential contraception and sexual health clinics for all young people, along with better routes to education and employment opportunities.

She said: "The figures released today show that there is still a wide regional variation in the rates, with young people living in the most deprived areas still more likely to become pregnant than those of the same age living in more affluent areas.

“Accessible and confidential contraception and sexual health services, along with high-quality relationships and sex education, and training and support for health professionals, play a vital role in making sure young people can look after their sexual health and choose when and if to become parents.

"Limited access to abortion services, can further restrict young people’s choices as they may not have the means to travel to access the services they need."

She added: "We urge Scottish government to invest in and protect sexual and reproductive health services to help achieve a further drop in rates and genuine choice for young people."

While the gap between rich and poor remains substantial, overall teenage pregnancy rates Scotland have fallen to a new low.

A total of 4,808 females aged 19 and under became pregnant in 2015 according to the latest figures, a rate of 32.4 per 1,000.

The rate is down from 34.1 in the previous year and a marked drop from the most recent peak of 57.7 in 2007.

A total of 2,803 teenagers gave birth in 2015 while 2,005 had an abortion.

Pregnancy rates for under-16s have fallen from 4.2 per 1,000 in 2014 to three per 1,000 in 2015 with a total of 244 pregnancies - eight of which were to girls aged under 14.

Scottish Labour said the figures reinforced its message that the SNP has more work to do to tackle inequality, with inequalities spokeswoman Monica Lennon MSP saying: “A decline in the overall number of teenage pregnancies is welcome, but the truth is SNP cuts to services are having an impact on young women.

“The SNP promised to decrease the cycle of deprivation associated with teenage pregnancy but has failed to deliver.

“Access to reproductive healthcare and abortion services remains uneven and limits the choices available to women and girls. When money for advisors disappears or young people can’t afford to travel to clinics, choice is narrowed.

SNP Public Health Minister Aileen Campbell said: “We are continuing work to implement our ‘Pregnancy and Parenthood in Young People Strategy’, which aims to drive actions that will decrease the cycle of deprivation and ensure services put young people at the centre of decision-making, helping them to achieve their potential both as individuals and where appropriate, as parents.”