Deprivation has shown no signs of improving over 40 years across much of Dumbarton and the Vale, according to new research.

The analysis says parts of the area are among the most deprived in Britain after the area’s industrial heartlands withered.

Across a ranking of 120,000 areas in Britain, parts of Leven ward were 270th and 284th most deprived in the UK, with part of Dumbarton at 398th. The most deprived part of Lomond ward comes in at 782nd. Much of Lomond is ranked above 72,000th in Britain, though many of them have seen fluctuations in how well-off they are.

Part of Kilpatrick ward ranks 190th in Scotland, England and Wales.

The most dramatic changes over the decades were between 1971 and 1981, reflecting significant collapses in industrial employment.

Clair Coyle, trustee with West Dunbartonshire Foodshare, said they have seen client numbers continue to increase thanks to benefit cuts, the rising cost of living and more pressures on families.

She said: “We are really worried about the amount of people who will need support this year compared to other years. The lack of people having money is also reflected in charities giving out grants – we are finding it difficult to cover operating costs.

“There is so much poverty in our area and not a lot of people getting support.”

While the Scottish Government uses the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation (SIMD) to measure almost all policies, that is based on seven current factors.

University of Liverpool researchers used four sources of information for their historical comparison: unemployment, overcrowding, rented households and access to a car or van.

The higher the score above zero, the more likely residents were living in deprivation. Below zero, residents were less deprived than the average.

The researchers divided Britain into a grid of 120,000 blocks, each of one square kilometre, to analyse census data, instead of local wards, where borders have changed repeatedly.

Professor Chris Lloyd, one of the researchers, said although parts of each area might be thousands of places down the list of most deprived areas, being first or 1,000th is still “really deprived”.

He told the Post: “The problem with deprivation is it can mean a lot of different things. The impact on health of deprivation is not just how deprived it is now – it’s how deprived it was in the past.

“It’s important to profile the history of an area, not just what it’s like now.” Look at how it’s changing.”

Prof Lloyd said while there is plenty of talk about the “democratisation of data”, people need the technical skills to understand that data.

He said: “I think people looking at how their area has changed is important. I would like people to be able to zoom in on their area and think about how it’s changed compared to places elsewhere.

“This research is Britain-wide. Many places are as deprived as Glasgow, but it just happens that Glasgow comes out top.”