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10 December 2014

Report Says that Living Wage and Council Tax Freeze are 'Saving Lives'

Stewart Stevenson, SNP MSP for Banffshire & Buchan Coast, has welcomed a new report highlighting that the introduction of the Living Wage and the council tax freeze may be improving health across Scotland.

The study by researchers at the Scottish Public Health Observatory (PHO) at NHS Health Scotland found that certain regulatory and tax policies could help tackle health inequalities. Dr Gerry McCartney, head of the PHO, said that in some cases “they will save lives”.

Mr Stevenson said:

“This report provides further evidence of the strong influence government policy can have on tackling inequality. Importantly, it finds that many of the measures being taken forward by the SNP in government are likely to have positive results.

“In particular, the report mentions the Living Wage as a policy that is having a positive impact on health. The SNP government introduced the Living Wage in 2011, benefitting thousands of workers covered by Scottish Government pay policy. Since then, the SNP has continued to encourage more businesses to sign up to the Living Wage.

“The report also highlights the negative impact that rising council tax can have on health. Under the SNP, council tax has been frozen since 2007, which will not only save families an average of £1200 by the end of the current Parliamentary term, but according to this report will also have a positive impact on health."

Mr Stevenson added:

“While the Smith Commission proposals will not deliver the powers we need over welfare and job creation, the Scottish Government will continue to do everything we can with the powers we have to tackle inequality and build a fairer Scotland.”
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