Money and work

Poverty is the biggest driver of poor health in any society. The 2008 financial crisis and subsequent economic recession triggered a renewed focus on the relationship between socioeconomic factors and health. The COVID-19 pandemic has brought into sharper focus the links between our economy and health.

The nature of poverty, social security systems and work in Scotland is also going through a period of unprecedented change. The vulnerability of the populations involved and the timeliness, scale and growth of the issue, make it a public health concern. 

Money and work

The impact of poverty on population health is particularly relevant in Scotland and Glasgow, with over 1 in 5 children living in relative poverty and 1 in 3 (more than 37,000 children) living in poverty in Glasgow in 2017, rising to 41% in some parts of the city. 

Scotland’s child poverty rates are predicted to steadily increase with 50,000 more children living in poverty by 2020/21, as a result of the UK government’s austerity and welfare reform measures. Therefore, action to address poverty is crucial in order to avoid widening inequalities in health, wellbeing and life chances. 

Our work within this topic aims to ensure that public health keeps pace with these important contemporary socioeconomic factors and how they are impacting on population health and wellbeing. We use this understanding to inform policy and service development and work with a range of strategic connections, alliances and networks to support initiatives which tackle and alleviate poverty.