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Health experts want action to tackle inequalities

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The Child Poverty Action Group has said that more must be done to boost family incomes

A children’s charity has backed a call to action to tackle health inequalities in Scotland.

The Faculty of Public Health (FPH) has asked for the Scottish Government to step up efforts to deal with the "bleak reality" of health inequalities facing local communities across Scotland and invite the people of Scotland to support a stronger national focus on people’s health.

The report Healthy Lives, Fairer Futures, sets out eight priorities for the government to act on so that everyone has an equal chance of a long and healthy life, including: making sure that new laws impact positively on the health of Scottish people, lessen the impact of UK-wide welfare reform and to set ambitious, binding targets to reduce child poverty.

The report has been welcomed by the Child Poverty Action Group in Scotland (CPAG). John Dickie, director of the charity, said that action had to be taken to ensure that children’s health is protected.

He said: "This call to action from the nation's public health experts makes absolutely clear that living wages, progressive taxation and investment in social security are all absolutely vital to reducing poverty and protecting children's health and wellbeing.

“Government at every level needs to act on their recommendations and Scottish ministers must use every tool in their toolbox, including powers to top up UK benefits, to boost family incomes".

FPH advocacy lead in Scotland, Josie Murray, said: “Every day I speak to public health professionals who are challenged to improve health in the face of the significant health inequalities in Scotland.

“From children growing up in poverty to families struggling to heat their house in the winter because their benefits have been cut, inequality affects every aspect of people’s lives – and that has a direct impact on their health and wellbeing.”

Convenor of FPH in Scotland, Dr Julie Cavanagh, said: “Inequalities in health are not inevitable; changes are required across many areas of society and we are asking the Scottish people to support government action to take these changes.”

The report was welcomed by the government’s equalities secretary Angela Constance. She said: “Since 2013, we have spent more than £350 million to protect our poorest households from the worst effects of UK welfare cuts, a significant amount, which would be much better invested in anti-poverty measures.”



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