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Unemployment And Health

Volume 124: debated on Wednesday 9 December 1987

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14.

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will commission a study on the effects of long-term unemployment on health in Scotland.

My right hon. and learned Friend has no plans to do so. To date, research has not identified any clear relationship between long-term unemployment and health.

I am amazed at the Minister's response, considering that a report published by the DHSS in 1981 on unemployment and families cited no fewer than 47 references which underline the relationship between longterm unemployment and poverty. Perhaps ex-Tory Members of Parliament in Scotland would be a suitable case study.

I am surprised that the hon. Gentleman does not read the British Medical Journal. If he did, he would know that in January and April there were a couple of articles about the research commissioned by the Medical Research Council on that matter. None of that research provided evidence to support his theory. Experts agree that people can help themselves and their families to stay healthy by making simple changes to their life styles. [HON. MEMBERS: "Like getting a job."] A healthy life style does not depend on a high income. I am disappointed that Opposition Members seem to think that the matter of health in Scotland is so amusing.