‘A Bad Start Shouldn’t Mean A Bad End’: Campaign to Address the Impact of Poverty on Young Lives

David Stewart MSPLocal MSP  David Stewart, Labour has raised. in the Scottish Parliament, the shocking findings in a new study that  young people in the poorest parts of Scotland are three times more likely to die before their 25th birthday than those in the most affluent areas.

David Stewart, who is also Labour’s Shadow Cabinet Secretary for the Eradication of Poverty and Social Inequality, asked Nicola Sturgeon for the Scottish Government’s response to the study.

He said:

“Aberlour Trust, who sponsored the research, argue that ‘a bad start shouldn’t mean a bad end’.

“Professor Treanor, who carried out this research, emphasised the impact of poverty, across the whole of a child’s life – with links to housing, health inequalities and education – all areas where the Scottish Government has the power to take radical action.

“Does the First Minister share my view that a young person’s life expectancy should not depend on a post code lottery and that the solution is a major shift in policy to fight with vigour and fortitude the massive inequality between the rich and poor in society?”

First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon said in reply that the figures were “shocking” and were a major cause for concern blaming Tory welfare cuts and outlining the action the Scottish Government was taking to tackle the issue.

The study was conducted by Dr Morag Treanor, Professor of Child and Family Inequalities at Edinburgh’s Heriot-Watt University,on behalf of the Aberlour Child Care Trust. The children’s charity has launched an urgent fundraising campaign carrying the message that A Bad Start Shouldn’t Mean a Bad End.

SallyAnn Kelly, CEO, Aberlour Child Care Trust said:

“This research makes for a really shocking read. We know that in order to break this cycle of deprivation we need to get to Scotland’s young people early. We are currently supporting 7,500 vulnerable children and young people across Scotland, but we know that there are thousands more that urgently need our help.”

Dr Morag Treanor said:

“What we wanted to do was understand the impact deprivation has on life expectancy, specifically in young people. I was surprised just how difficult it was to find the data I needed to complete this research, and I’ve discovered that a study like this, focusing on deaths in young people under the age of 25 across Scotland, simply hasn’t been undertaken before.

“The results of the research really couldn’t paint a clearer message and underlines the massive inequality between rich and poor in this country.”

The campaign was launched outside the Scottish Parliament on Thursday 19th of September and was supported by Labour and SNP MSPs.

David Stewart explained:

““These figures are a disgrace for Scotland and amount to a sad loss of life for our young people who should have so much to live for.

“Most of the deaths included suicides, drug and alcohol poisonings, falls and road traffic accidents as well as deaths resulting from neglect or maltreatment, assault and violence.

“A major reason for the higher incidence of early deaths was poverty and its impact across the whole of a child’s life – linked to housing, neighbourhoods, health inequalities, nutrition, outdoor space, education and access to activities as well as the stresses poverty caused families.

“We cannot afford to ignore research such as this and the Scottish Government must do more to tackle inequalities.

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