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29/10/13 09:45

Reducing the health gap

Income inequality at root of challenge.

Commenting on health inequalities figures released today, Minister for Public Health Michael Matheson said:

“Overall, health in Scotland is improving, and people are living longer, healthier lives. Reducing the health gap between people in Scotland’s most deprived and affluent communities is one of our greatest challenges.

“At the root is the issue of income inequality - we need a shift in emphasis from dealing with the consequences to tackling the underlying causes, such as ending poverty, fair wages, supporting families and improving our physical and social environments.

“In the face of the UK Government’s welfare cuts, we are working with all of our partners to tackle poverty and inequality and help those who want to work to get into work.

“Many people in Scotland are concerned about the welfare policies of the UK government and the implications they could have on them and their families. And that is why we want to develop a Scottish system which provide support for those who need it.

“This illustrates the fact that the full powers of independence would provide the opportunity to make substantial progress on tackling health inequalities.

“We are continuing to take decisive action in areas we have control, for example to address alcohol consumption, reduce smoking rates, encourage active living, healthy eating, and promote positive mental health. But without full control over areas like welfare, we are left having to deal with UK Government welfare policies that only threaten to make things worse.”

Notes to editors

The full statistical publication can be viewed at http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Publications/2013/10/