NOVEMBER 2, 2023

By Bill Heaney

The ‘human cost’ of 16 years of SNP failure to support our NHS and tackle poverty has been laid bare, Jackie Baillie has said, as new statistics show that death rates are almost twice as high in Scotland’s poorest areas.

Meanwhile, life expectancy in West Dunbartonshire is far lower than the national average for both men and women with Glasgow City the only local authority which is recording a lower life expectancy.

The Scotland Population 2022 report published this week by the National Records of Scotland has revealed those in the most deprived areas are also a shocking 16 times more likely to die due to drug misuse.

The report also shows that people in the most deprived areas were 4.3 times more likely to die from alcohol-specific deaths.

The report also notes that long term improvements to life have stalled and, most recently, started to reverse. This follows statistics last month that revealed life expectancy is decreasing in Scotland.

In 2021-2022, life expectancy in Scotland was 76.5 years for males and 80.7 years for females; this is a decrease by 3 weeks for males and 5.7 weeks for females since 2019-2021.

In West Dunbartonshire, life expectancy for men is 73.2 years and 78.4 for women while, in neighbouring Argyll and Bute, fortunes there are very different with life expectancy higher than the national average. There, men can expect to live to 77.7 years and women to 81.84.

Jackie Baillie, Dumbarton constituency MSP, said: “This damning report has revealed the horrific human cost of 16 years of SNP failure.

“From taking their eye off the ball on drugs, to failing to support our NHS and tackle poverty, it is clear that the people of Scotland are paying the price of SNP incompetence.

“Put simply, these horrendous statistics are the result of political decisions made by the SNP.

“It is simply wrong that those from the most deprived areas are more likely to die early. People in West Dunbartonshire are expected to live for several years less than those in neighbouring Argyll and Bute.

“Only by tackling Scotland’s drug crisis head on and rebuilding our NHS can we begin to lessen the shocking levels of inequality that have grown under the SNP.”

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