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Home > Your Health > Equalities in Health > Areas of Work > Income Inequality, Poverty & Social Issues > Extreme Poverty and Destitution

Extreme Poverty and Destitution

The COVID-19 pandemic, Brexit, welfare reform, austerity and the recession have created extreme poverty in Scotland and the UK. The Scottish Social Renewal Advisory Board and the Marmot Build Back Fairer reports argue for radical action to tackle the long term humanitarian crisis.

People’s human rights to food, fuel, income and shelter are often breached in the humanitarian crisis that has arisen. Poverty, child poverty, stress and social isolation with the long term associated impacts on mental and physical health are public health emergencies. This is due to low economic growth rising unemployment levels; stagnant wages; social security cuts; higher food and fuel prices.

Over 50% of people living in poverty are in work and often claim benefits such a working tax credits. However, often people are unaware of what is their right to social security with around £20 billion unclaimed in the UK every year. In 2020, the Scottish Human Rights Commission developed this short film clip about right to Scotland’s devolved social security powers.

Even before the pandemic, the UN rapporteur on human rights had two visits to Scotland – one on extreme poverty and one on the right to food. The reports cited the UK governments economic and welfare reform policies as a key factor in why these are live public health emergency issues in Scotland (see Human Rights page).

NHSGGC Public Health Strategy post pandemic firmly sets out to tackle poverty, child poverty and mental wellbeing with NHSGGC a partner in the legally required Local Child Poverty Action Plans.

Useful Resources

Linked Pages
NHS Documents
GPs at the Deep End
General Information

Addressing Income Inequality and Social Issues

The Fairer Scotland Duty

The Fairer Scotland Duty came into force in April 2018 with the aim of ensuring that public sector bodies consider how they can reduce socio-economic disadvantage when making key strategic decisions.

‘Socio-Economic Requirements’ – Equality & Human Rights Commission Summary Report

Addressing socio-economic issues in NHSGGC

NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde is involved in a range of work to tackle inequality as a result of income inequality, poverty and social issues. 

Child Poverty

Welfare Reform

Money Advice Referrals

Food Insecurity/Poverty –  NHSGGC’s hospital based services assess for malnutrition and diet on admission. Our Financial Inclusion Group shares information on good practice around food poverty issues,  highlighting the negative impact on health and stress and promoting community food initiatives.

Staff Money Worries

Home Energy Advice – NHSGGC has a partnership with Home Energy Scotland.  This means patient and staff struggling to pay with for fuel and requiring improvements to equipment receive the support they need.  The service is promoted in hospitals and communities. 

NHS Credit Union

Linked Pages
Healthier Wealthier Children

More information coming soon…