The gap between the richest and the poorest students going to university has widened, according to new figures.

Statistics from the university admissions body Ucas show the percentage of people from the richest backgrounds going into higher education is increasing at a faster rate compared to those from the poorest.

Since 2014, the number of young people from the most deprived areas going to university has increased by 0.8%.

Those from the richest backgrounds saw their chances of success increasing by more than three times that, 2.6%.

The figures show four in ten people from wealthier areas are able to access university while just one in ten from the most deprived backgrounds gain entry.

Scottish Labour said the statistics contradicted Nicola Sturgeon's comments at First Minister's Questions earlier this month which suggested the gap was narrowing.

Sturgeon told MSPs the latest figures from universities are "evidence of a narrowing of the attainment gap in terms of access to university".

Labour's education spokesman Iain Gray said: "Nicola Sturgeon has promised that every child, regardless of their background, would have an equal chance of going to university.

"But those chances have become less equal while she's been First Minister.

"It goes to show that warm words from the SNP aren't enough, closing the attainment gap will take more investment in our schools.

"Labour will continue to make the case for a 50p top rate of tax on those earning more than £150,000 a year to invest in closing the attainment gap in schools across Scotland."

The Scottish Government said the statistics show an improvement in the chances of young people from a deprived background getting to university.

A spokeswoman said: "In 2006, 18-year-olds from the 20% least-deprived areas were 5.8 times as likely to enter university as those from the 20% most deprived areas, and this has decreased to 3.9 times in 2016.

"It is welcome news this is heading in the right direction but we are committed to making further and faster progress on fairer access to higher education for all, as the recommendations made by the commission on widening access are implemented."