The Challenge Poverty Week campaign led by The Poverty Alliance, is an opportunity for all of us to reinforce our contributions to reducing poverty and to help address a key driver of inequalities in Scotland. Public Health Scotland recognises the severe effect poverty has on health and wellbeing and we’re proud to support the campaign in what has been an especially challenging year for so many.
Living in poverty is a significant determinant of both physical and mental health. People in our most deprived communities bear a greater burden of ill health. Unexpected circumstances, such as the ones brought on by the coronavirus pandemic, can push people into poverty and also make it difficult to escape. Reducing poverty and improving access to services for our most deprived communities will help to improve health outcomes for people across Scotland.
Angela Leitch, Chief Executive, Public Health Scotland said:
"As outlined in our recently published Strategic Plan, Public Health Scotland’s work is driven by a vision of Scotland where everybody thrives, healthy life expectancy increases, where the nation’s health is protected and where health inequalities are a thing of the past. In order to achieve this, we are committed to contributing to the work of partners across the NHS, national and local government and the third sector in tackling poverty."
"The pandemic, and the economic challenges that have followed, bring the realities of poverty into even sharper focus. We know more people are claiming Universal Credit, unemployment is rising and the use of food banks has nearly doubled this year by people already on low incomes, and families with children are one of the most affected groups.
"Reducing poverty is a public health priority and the actions we take now to improve and protect health and wellbeing early in life will pay dividends for decades. They can also ensure that fewer children in the next generation experience the hardships of being born into poverty. To do this, we must seek to address the drivers of poverty such as low incomes and high living costs."