The “Glasgow effect”, the term used to describe Glasgow’s higher mortality rates than other comparable cities, is in fact a “political effect” according to new research carried out.

Academics looked at updated figures to compare the excess deaths and premature deaths in Glasgow with those in Liverpool and Manchester, which has also suffered from post-industrial decline.

The Glasgow effect was the term applied to the fact that Glasgow had higher premature deaths than areas also with high levels of deprivation and long term unemployment.

The latest research from the Glasgow Centre for Population Health, published last month, looked at death rates and deprivation factors up to 2018, to take into account the most recent impact of austerity, benefit cuts and deprivation.

The study found that the gap between Glasgow and the two English cities had narrowed but rather than Glasgow improving, it has got even worse in the most deprived areas.

But at the same time, mortality rates had increased even more in Manchester and Liverpool.

In Glasgow, death rates are still 12 percent higher than the two English cities and 25% higher among men. The city also had a higher rate of drug deaths and suicide than its English counterparts.

One of the report authors, David Walsh, said: “Premature mortality rates have actually become worse in recent years, especially – and really worryingly – among the city’s more deprived communities.

“It is because rates in Liverpool have increased to an even greater degree, thereby narrowing the gap between the cities.

Glasgow Times:

“However, these changes to mortality rates in different parts of the UK have not led to media headlines about an ‘England effect’ or a ‘Wales effect’.

“Nor have we seen similar headlines about Leeds, Birmingham, Manchester or Liverpool ‘effects’ – all cities with communities where life expectancy has decreased in the last decade. Yet the ‘Glasgow effect’ headline persists.”

The study stated austerity measures have “slashed” the income of the poorest and increased death rates. It found post-industrial parts of the United Kingdom (including Glasgow, Liverpool and Manchester) have been shown to have been most affected by these policies.

The report concluded: "Taken in its entirety, all the evidence of excess levels of, and changing trends in, mortality in Glasgow emphasises that there is no such thing as a ‘Glasgow effect’: rather it is a political effect and therefore requires a political response.”

It argued because UK austerity policies have widened inequalities then “additional policies at UK Government level to protect, and restore, the income of the poorest in society are also urgently needed.”