THE UK Government has said it will not be attending a drug death summit in Glasgow.

Despite stating it wants to work with the Scottish Government on the issue a government minister has ruled out taking part in a summit in the city to investigate solutions.

Joe Fitzpatrick, Scottish Public Health Minister, wrote to the Home Secretary, Priti Patel, inviting the government to a summit to respond to the rising drug death toll and on changes needed for a drug consumption room in Glasgow.

READ MORE: Drugs taskforce set to meet for first time

However, despite the issue being a health emergency the letter was passed to Kit Malthouse minister for crime and policing.

He said: “I believe it is important for me to be clear at the outset hat the UK Government has no plans to change the law to allow the establishment of such facilities in the UK.”

On the drug summit, which the Evening Times called for in response to the drug death emergency he said: “unfortunately I am unable to commit to this, however I wish you well with the event.”

Last year in Glasgow, drug related deaths increased to 280 up by more than 40%.

Heroin was mostly responsible and most were older drug addicts but not exclusively.

There was a rise in deaths were benzodiazepines and in particular non prescription illegally produced “street valium” were present.

READ MORE: How many more must die?

The Evening Times issued a call to the UK, and Scottish Government together with Glasgow City Council to host a summit where ministers and officials could meet with service providers and families affected by drugs to work out solutions.

The coucnil said it would attend and help facilitate a summit and the Scottish Government said it would seek to host it.

Last week the Drug and alcohol unit at the Home Office said it was “considering” it’s attendance.

The refusal on both counts has been met with anger by politicians in Scotland including the MP in whose constituency the drug facility would be sited.

Alison Thewliss, SNP MP for Glasgow Central, said: “We have a public health crisis in Scotland, and it’s taken the UK Government six weeks to respond with platitudes from the Minister for Crime and Policing. To continue to dismiss the overwhelming evidence in support of a Supervised Drug Consumption Facility (SDCF) out of hand is appalling.

“The UK Government won’t even bother to come Glasgow and find out why people are dying.

She said it was clear the current services were not working.

Ms Thewliss, added: “The UK Government must wake up on this issue. The Prime Minister and the Home Secretary must now get out from behind their desks in Westminster, come to Glasgow and see why urgent action is needed.”

Mr FitzPatrick accused the UK Government of “high-handed arrogance” in rejecting the request.

He said it: “Speaks volumes about their whole approach to government.

“How can the Tories seriously say they want to continue to engage on this issue when they won’t even come to meetings? “What Scotland faces in terms of drug deaths is an emergency, addressing that will need new approaches even if at first they may be challenging. Everyone should be working together on this important issue, and if the best the Tories have to offer is half-hearted good wishes then they really are beneath contempt.”