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Parliamentary debates and questions

S5W-06622: Adam Tomkins (Glasgow)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 27 January 2017

To ask the Scottish Government what action it is taking in light of the figures published by the Office for National Statistics, which record Glasgow as having the poorest life expectancy in the UK, with 1,448 deaths per 100,000 people in 2015.

Answered by: Aileen Campbell 2 March 2017

Life expectancy in Scotland is increasing. The gap between life expectancy for men and for women is Scotland is continuing to narrow.

Reducing health inequalities is one of the biggest challenges we face. To tackle this we recognise that the root of health inequalities can be found in income inequalities – inequalities which are exacerbated by the UK Government’s policies of austerity and welfare reform.

We’re taking action focused on addressing the underlying causes of ending poverty - fair wages, supporting families, and improving our physical and social environments. The Scottish Government measures such as driving investment in affordable housing, increasing free school meals and continuing the commitments like free prescriptions, concessionary travel and free personal care, are the right approach to take. This is coupled with decisive action to address alcohol consumption, reduce smoking rates, encourage active living, healthy eating, and investment to improve mental health services.

In Glasgow, the Scottish Government is funding the Links Worker pilot programmes. The Link Worker programme sees a dedicated individual working in GP surgeries, helping patients on a one-to-one basis with non-medical problems that are making them feel unwell. We are committed to increasing the number of community Links Workers in disadvantaged areas to 250 over the next five years, with 40 to be recruited by September 2017.