Boris Johnson did not get the “big decisions right” on Covid, a leading epidemiologist has told MSPs.

Michael Marmot, Professor of Epidemiology, University College London, told the Scottish Parliament health committee that Covid has exposed and amplified the inequalities that existed before the pandemic.

Michael Marmot, Professor of Epidemiology, University College London, said Scotland and Glasgow in particular is worse than England for life expectancy.

Glasgow Times:

His research is mostly in England but he said it applies in Scotland too.

He said, in the last decade, “inequalities had got steeper in Scotland as well as England and life expectancy had got worse.

Prof. Marmot said: “Look at the index of multiple deprivation. You see a social gradient but that gradient is steeper in the north of England than it is in London and the south and it’s steeper in Glasgow than it is in the south of England.”

He said the consequences for health are more severe in Glasgow and Scotland than in the south of England.

He added: “Then came the pandemic which exposed and amplified the underlying inequalities in society.

“What we saw was the social gradient in mortality from covid 19 was almost exactly parallel to the gradient in mortality from all causes.

“What it means is the causes of inequality in covid were very similar to the causes of inequality in health more generally.

“Yes, we have to control the virus but we also have to deal with the inequality.”

He said when the four nations of the UK are compared with other countries “the fall in life expectancy in 2020/21 was steeper than in any other country except the United States.”

“When they say the Prime Minister got the big decisions right, when it comes to covid that’s not what the evidence shows.”

He added Scotland’s fall in life expectancy was slightly steeper than England.

“I ask myself why in the United Kingdom did we do so poorly in health pre-pandemic and then managed the pandemic so poorly, what’s the link?”

He suggested poor governance and political culture, increasing inequalities, disinvestment from public services and the fact we were not a healthy country before the pandemic.

The professor said in the last decade child poverty and poverty ahs increased as has inequality at the same times public services funding has been reduced.

He added: “I would say we know what to do to reduce inequalities the evidence is quite strong. We could do it if we had the political will and the organisation to do it.

“The fact that things have been going in the wrong direction is credible is understandable because policies have been going int eh wrong direction.”