Thanks to better SNP Government strategy, health care and compliance, Scotland has lowest Covid death rate for ALL social groups

Covid mortality rates in UK nations: remarkable differences revealed in new analysis

By stewartb

The Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) has recently published its latest annual report on the extent of poverty across the UK. This is based on data rich research that has over the years gained the status of an authoritative source.

See JRF 26 January (2023) UK Poverty 2023: The essential guide to understanding poverty in the UK.  ( )

In this report, the authors look back at the UK’s experience of Covid-19 and specifically at the differences in death rates by geography and degree of deprivation: ‘In this years report, health and poverty takes on a greater significance due to it covering the period when the UK was in the grip of the Coronavirus pandemic. With everyone facing a heightened risk to their health, those at the lowest end of the income distribution faced a greater risk still.’

One of the notable features of the JRF’s quantitative research on poverty is its reporting on differences between the nations and regions of the UK. In the specific instance of the impact of Covid-19, the JRF reports that in every UK nation the rate of deaths caused by this virus was higher in the most deprived areas than in the least deprived. As an area’s level of deprivation increased, so did its number of deaths from Covid-19 The following graph of rates of Covid deaths per 100,000 people is noteworthy for the substantial differences between the nations. (The red bars have been added here to emphasise the differences between the rates in Scotland and elsewhere.)

Of all the UK nations, England and Northern Ireland experienced the highest Covid-19 mortality rates for people living in the most deprived areas (Quintile 1). Scotland experienced by far the lowest Covid-19 mortality rate amongst the nations in its most deprived areas.

Moreover, the mortality rates in ALL quintiles in Scotland were substantially lower than the equivalent areas in ALL the other UK nations. Indeed, the chart shows that the mortality rates in England, Wales and NI for their LEAST deprived three quintiles (3, 4 and 5) were also higher than the mid-level, Quintile 3 in Scotland.

The JRF report focuses on the relatively higher difference between the rate for Quintile 1 and Quintile 5 in Scotland. Although true, it is of course hard to understate the crucial importance of the mortality rates in every quintile in Scotland being much lower than the rates for equivalent levels of deprivation elsewhere.

Given that Scotland’s population health is generally reported as being poorer than elsewhere in the UK, these substantially lower Covid-19 mortality rates across the board in Scotland are all the more remarkable!


2 thoughts on “Thanks to better SNP Government strategy, health care and compliance, Scotland has lowest Covid death rate for ALL social groups

  1. Of course, what the media will focus on is the gap between the highest and lowest quintiles and the unionist politicians will sneer about failing to ‘close the gap’.

    ‘Closing the gap’ is achievable, but, it requires a substantial increase in the income of people in the lower quintiles and an increase in public services.

    The opposition and media will pose two questions. Firstly, ‘who is going to pay for this?’ This is premised on the false trope that government budgeting is simply domestic budgeting writ large, when these two are complementary. And, secondly, ‘why should improvements for the worst off come at the cost of worsening outcomes for the better off?’ It is using the false paradigm of a zero-sum game. Greater investment in public services benefits all groups. Improving the incomes of the lower paid results in increased spending by them which increases economic activity and tax receipts which, again benefits all groups. Of course taxation must be made progressive and taxation must include more than incomes. Wealth, property and land taxation should be increased. And, investment income should be taxed in the same way as wage income. All tax loopholes should be closed and ‘offshore’ accounts should be banned.


  2. So the lesson from these graphs is – if you are poor in the UK and want to survive the NEXT pandemic , move to Scotland !
    Similarly , if you are rich , not so rich , moderately well-off etc…..


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