On 18th January, Ruth used a Tory led debate on health inequality to draw attention to its root cause of income inequality and poverty.
Ruth condemned the hypocrisy of the Tories in raising the issue in Chamber, noting that ‘there are some who might say they have a bit of a brass neck given the drastic impact that their policies have had, and continue have, on the health of people across Scotland’.
Along with other SNP, Labour and Green MSPs, Ruth also criticised the fact that the motion made no reference to income inequality – widely recognised as the main and underlying factor in all other forms of inequality, including health and education.
Speaking in the debate, Ruth said:
It is understandable why the Tories might not want to draw attention to these issues, but I must say that I found it quite astounding, some might even say brass-necked, that a motion focused on reducing health inequality did not at any point mention the income inequality and poverty at its heart’.
Ruth went on to highlight recent research from the Glasgow Centre for Population Health which set out how children from communities with the greatest socioeconomic challenges show the lowest attendance rates, and cited statistics showing how the number of children receiving food from food banks has increased exponentially in recent years.
Slamming the Tories approach, she said:
‘Although physical education has an important role to play in preventing health inequality, we must also focus on getting children to school in the first place and making sure that they are well fed, clothed, and ready and able to participate’
‘At its most fundamental, preventing inequality in health and well-being means tackling the income inequality that ultimately lies behind it. I welcome the steps taken by the Scottish Government in mitigating the worst effects of Tory austerity, and look forward to hearing some fresh ideas from the bold movers of this motion on how we can all work together to improve things’