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Number of deaths rises among homeless people in Scotland

The number of homeless people who died in Scotland rose by 19% in 2018, according to a new report.

The figures published by National Records of Scotland (NRS) estimated that there had been 195 deaths during the year - up from 164 in 2017.

It said the death rate in Scotland was more than double that of England or Wales.

Housing Minister Kevin Stewart said the Scottish government was working to "transform" services for the homeless.

The 2018 figures cover a period of exceptionally harsh winter weather, which came to be known as the Beast from the East.

The NRS said its report provided experimental statistics which were still in their testing phase.

The figures include people who were in temporary accommodation at the time of their death, as well as those who were sleeping rough.

Key findings included:

  • Scotland had the highest rate of homeless deaths of all GB countries in 2018, with a rate of 35.9 per million population compared to 16.8 in England and 14.5 in Wales

  • More than half (53%) of homeless deaths in 2018 were drug-related

  • About three quarters of homeless deaths were male - 74% of the total in 2017 and 79% in 2018

  • The mean age at death was 43 for females and 44 for males.

The report indicates that the cities of Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Dundee had above-average death rates in 2018.

Glasgow and Aberdeen recorded the highest rates - 100.5 and 67.8 deaths per million population.

Shetland recorded 111.8 deaths per million population, but the NRS warned that this figure should be treated "with caution" because of the very small number of deaths.

No homeless deaths were identified in four council areas - Angus, East Renfrewshire, Moray and the Scottish Borders.

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