Scotland is unequal in different ways. Tackling our problems begins with understanding that.

We usually think about inequalities in pound signs. Your earnings versus the income of your neighbours. Your savings compared to your friend’s bank account. Their mortgage in comparison to your rent. But if you read The Herald every day, then you’ll understand that Scotland is unequal in other ways. For example, Glasgow’s health inequalities rightly appal the nation. And why should we accept the average man in Pollockshields living for 13 years longer than their friend in Govan?

And it isn’t just health and wealth that matters. We all want to live in safe communities, but many of us don’t. We all need someone to turn to in a crisis, but many of us can’t. None of us should experience discrimination, though many of us do.

Carnegie’s new Life in the UK Index, produced with Ipsos, shows us that Scotland is unequal in different but interrelated ways. Our report - designed to measure Scotland’s collective wellbeing - shows us certain types of people are more likely to face hardships. Unsurprisingly, the research shows us disabled people, people on lower incomes, social housing tenants and private tenants have lower levels of wellbeing. Perhaps counter-intuitively it also reveals older people (55+) have higher levels of wellbeing compared to younger people. And alarmingly it finds democratic wellbeing in crisis, with astonishingly low levels of trust in democracy and politics.

Now we’ve shown that Scotland is unequal, what should we do about it? Just because inequality manifests itself in different ways, it doesn’t mean money won’t help to mitigate our problems. When Shona Robison reveals the Scottish Government's Budget later this month, she must reinforce the groundbreaking commitment to the Scottish Child Payment by increasing it to £30 per week. There’s no excuse for child poverty in Scotland in 2023 and while this move alone won’t solve the problem, it can shift the dial.

This policy should mean our councils, our NHS and our schools have less work to do to mitigate the corrosive effect of child poverty. While this move should save the taxpayer money (or release funds for other priorities) the reason we must take action is to reduce the number of poor kids while improving their life chances. In Scotland, we must hardwire this long-term logic throughout our public policy. Where should the state step in and use its money and reach to have maximum impact on our wellbeing? Conversely, where should it step back and support communities to invest in what matters locally?

That’s why we are calling on MSPs to back new Scottish Parliament wellbeing legislation to better co-ordinate the state’s response to the biggest challenges of our time. These new laws could force the hand of public bodies to work more closely with local communities and create a powerful new commissioner to ensure that our public debate looks to the long-term. Ensuring everyone in Scotland has what they need to live life well should be the ultimate outcome of our public policy. This is wellbeing public policy in action, and our decision-makers need to get behind it.

Sarah Davidson is chief executive of Carnegie UK