SCOTLAND had better mortality rates than the rest of the UK from the pandemic, the UK Covid Inquiry was told.

In a written closing statement on behalf of Scottish ministers, previous evidence from the UK’s national statistician Sir Iain Diamond was referenced to show the differences across four nations.

Diamond’s evidence showed that Scotland had a much lower Age-standardised Mortality Rates (ASMRs) than England, Wales and Northern Ireland, per 100,000 people.

ASMRs are a weighted average, where proportions are measured against the corresponding age group’s standard population size.

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The written evidence set out to explain whether or not the current devolution set up, and the ability of Scottish ministers to make their own decisions, helped to save lives.

“This is a complex question, but we can begin to answer it by considering the Age-standardised Mortality Rates (ASMRs) for the four nations, across the period of the pandemic,” it reads.

“Age-standardised Mortality Rates are a better measure of mortality than numbers of deaths, as they account for the population size and age structure and provide more reliable comparisons between groups or over time.

“When considering the outcome of the pandemic across the four nations, Sir Iain Diamond detailed that England had the highest Age-standardised Mortality Rates for deaths involving COVID-19 of the four nations, 145.0 per 100,000 people followed by Wales (144.6), Northern Ireland (130.7) and Scotland (124.9), between March 2020 and February 2022.”

The National:

The statement also referred to evidence given to the Inquiry by Professor Hale, who set out that between 2020 and 2022, England experienced the 19th highest number of deaths per capita and was 15th among European countries. Scotland, meanwhile, experienced the 38th highest number of deaths globally, and 27th in Europe.

“While this does not demonstrate conclusively that devolved control was essential, it does suggest that it was helpful for the Scottish Government to be able to take the approach it considered best in the Scottish context, rather than being required to follow a common UK-wide approach,” the statement adds.

“It also suggests that maintaining these arrangements is likely to be beneficial in responding to the demands of any future pandemic.”

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It comes after the UK Covid Inquiry finished up three weeks of hearings in Edinburgh, including a marathon evidence session given by former first minister Nicola Sturgeon.

Sturgeon insisted she did not attempt to use the pandemic for political gain or to further the cause of independence.

And, on Friday, Scottish Secretary Alister Jack admitted that he had deleted all his WhatsApp messages from during the pandemic.