SCOTTISH Labour has been urged to go into the next Holyrood election promising radical and expensive policies designed to tackle the "national shame" of health inequalities.

The Commission on Health Inequalities, which was set up by left-wing Labour MSP Neil Findlay during his stint as shadow health minister and is backed by the Socialist Health Association, will launch its report today recommending the establishment of community hubs which would see a wide range of public services offered under one roof.

It also calls for the extension of breakfast clubs for pre-school children, a reversal to cuts for colleges, the introduction of national targets to reduce health inequalities and an end to the council tax freeze.

Under the commission's proposals, health inequality impact assessments for every policy devised by public bodies in Scotland would be mandatory and social security payments would be raised to a level "conducive to the minimum income for healthy living". New powers set to be devolved in the Scotland Bill would be used extensively.

Holyrood's health committee, which issued a report on health inequalities earlier this year, said that a baby born today in the richest parts of Scotland could expect to live almost 30 years longer than one born in the poorest.

Dr David Conway, Chair of the Health Inequalities Commission, said: "Health inequalities are the manifestation of inequalities in income, wealth, and power. There have been many reports on Scottish health inequalities over the years. This commission report is different because it is firmly focussed on what we can and must do in Scotland to tackle this enduring problem.

"It is a national shame that we have some of the worst health inequalities in the developed world. We need to debunk the myth that there are no devolved powers available to take on this huge challenge and get on and do something about it. The commission recommendations come from a wide consultation with experts working in communities, the health service, local government, and trade unions; as well as from community engagement events.

"The testimonies we heard from people working heroically in their communities painted a graphic picture of the miserable reality of poverty and inequality and the inadequate policy and resources we put into tackling health inequalities in Scotland. If we are ever going to solve this issue we are going to have to fundamentally change our political priorities and choices taken in the Scottish Parliament."