I thank the minister for that reply. I am glad that she has not yet made up her mind and I encourage her to use as small a unit of population as possible. I highlight the Auchmill ward in my constituency of Aberdeen North, which has half of the Great Northern social inclusion partnership within it. If the minister uses the ward arrangement, there will be little prospect of financial support within the City of Aberdeen. I would much rather that we continue to use the numeration districts that were used following the 1991 census.
Any unit of definition brings its own challenges, as I am sure the member appreciates. We attempt to measure a number of factors in order to deliver an effective strategy to tackle deprivation and to ensure that we deal with concentrations of deprivation. We know that the current system is far from perfect because smaller areas are not properly picked up. There are streets that have severe deprivation in some prosperous areas, and we seek to target such areas of deprivation. The research is robust. We will give the matter great consideration to ensure that we address the issues that the member raises.
As the minister knows, Stirling is polarised in that it has very well-off areas and very disadvantaged areas side by side, an example being Cornton and Bridge of Allan. If the research that is being done to develop the index of deprivation is not sufficient to identify smaller pockets of deprivation, will more work be undertaken to give us a more accurate analysis of where deprivation and disadvantage exist?
The research that we are doing should give us some of the answers that we are looking for by establishing the proper unit size and levers that we need to target resources.
Sylvia Jackson knows that we believe in devolving flexibility in funding patterns, as people at the local level are sensitive to some of the issues. I know that that approach has benefited her constituency. It is a combination of ensuring that we get the unit size right and having flexibility in decision making. I assure members that we will do our best to ensure that the research is robust. It is never possible to get all the answers right in such a measurement because patterns shift, but we will make every effort to ensure that the polarity that Sylvia Jackson describes is addressed.