We're living longer – but poorest still die too early
SCOTTISH life expectancy has continued to rise over the past decade, though there are still "unacceptable inequalities" between areas, new statistics have shown.
Male Scots born between 2006 and 2008 are expected to live to 75, while baby girls' life expectancy is 79.9 years.
That is higher than it was ten years ago, when life expectancy rates for males were 72.4 years and 78.1 for females.
However, the report, published by the Registrar General for Scotland, shows that Scotland's figures are still lower than the UK average of 77.3 years for men and 81.7 years for women, and that Scots continue to have the lowest life expectancy in western Europe.
Only the Eastern European states that joined the EU in 2004 and 2007 have lower figures.
Scottish men can expect to live at least one year less than the EU average, and Scottish women can expect to live two years less. For both, the expectation of life is around four years lower than the countries with the highest.
Minister for public health and sport Shona Robison said: "Health in Scotland is improving but not quickly enough, and unacceptable inequalities continue to blight the lives of our most deprived communities.
"The removal of health inequalities will not be achieved overnight. But these statistics show that this government's commitment to tackling these as a matter of priority is both right and, I believe, achievable."
Although some areas had very small increases, life expectancy has not declined anywhere in the past decade.
Glasgow City continues to have the lowest life expectancy for both men and women, 70.7 and 77.2 respectively. The council area with the highest life expectancy was East Dunbartonshire: 78 years and 82.5 years for men and women respectively.
Opposition parties and medical bodies yesterday said that emphasis had to be placed on closing the "health gap".
BMA Scotland chairman Dr Brian Keighley said: "I am pleased that health is improving, although the improvement is greater in more affluent areas.
"It is unacceptable that men living in the most disadvantaged parts of Scotland have a reduced life expectancy of more than seven years compared to wealthier areas."
Dr Keighley argued co-ordination between different government departments was needed to "ensure policy in one area doesn't undermine another" in tackling the problem.
Liberal Democrat health spokesman Ross Finnie said: "Poverty and deprivation continue to blight the life chances of too many people in Scotland.
"The answer to increasing life expectancy is for the SNP government to tackle the root causes of poverty and close the health gap."
… and don't even think about retiring early
TWO-THIRDS of workers think they will have to delay their retirement plans because of the recession, a survey has shown.
About 64 per cent of people said they thought they would now have to work for longer than planned, with 19 per cent expecting to have to work for an extra six to nine years, said an Aon Consulting poll.
People are having to rethink when they will retire because the credit crunch has caused steep falls in global stock markets, hitting the value of people's pension pots.
Aon estimates that, despite the recent stock market rally, the value of defined contribution pensions, under which the individual shoulders the risk of stock market volatility, are still 12 per cent lower than in September 2007.
But the group warned that having an older workforce could have serious knock-on effects for UK employers, such as increased salary costs, but added that there would also be benefits to retraining more experienced workers.
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