I talked earlier today about how the ratio of workers to dependents in Sweden is a gobsmacking 1:1, and now comes another report about the shocking number of incapacity benefit recipients in Scotland's main city, Glasgow.
The research, commissioned by GCPH and carried out by a team from the University of Glasgow and Glasgow City Council, also reveals however that Glasgow has a particular problem in terms of the absolute size of its Incapacity Benefit (IB) population (61,850 in 2005) and the fact that this population represents about one in six of the working age population (16.4% in 2005).
Dr Ewan Macdonald, Head of the Healthy Working Lives Research Group, explained: "Glasgow has far too many people on IB, with up to 35% of men over 55 years apparently too ill to work. Of all IB, 50% is due to mental health problems, such as anxiety and depression.
When you are faced with such high levels of dependency, it is time to look at why this is indeed so. I am a firm believer in man being a member of the homoeconomics species, and economics driving human behaviour. Perhaps somebody might want to do a global comparative study on incapacity benefits and actual physical/mental health levels. After having worked in many other countries, I suspect that this is economic behaviour rather than the Glasgow air being actually sicker than the world.
And dont point to weather, deprivation or unemployment, under-development or other non-subsidy issues as factors behind this, each of those factors exist in many other cities without such high dependency levels. Perhaps the declaration of independence for Scotland needs to review this. Currently, the financial situation is that the high levels of subsidy and welfare is based upon the English paying for it, once they go independent, they will have to tax more and pony up more to support this.
All this to be taken with a grain of piquant salt!!!