Scots back tax hikes to improve health

More than half of Scots say they would accept tax hikes if the money was ring-fenced for the NHS because of widespread concerns the country's wealth gap is to blame for poorer health, a new survey has found.
Scots would back tax rises ringfenced for the NHSScots would back tax rises ringfenced for the NHS
Scots would back tax rises ringfenced for the NHS

The Scottish Government should also be doing more to tackle health inequalities in Scotland which are among the highest in Western Europe, according to the latest Scottish Social Attitudes survey.

The overwhelming majority of Scots say they have not learned to make “healthy choices” in their daily lifestyles.

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Public health minister Aileen Campbell has today unveiled plans for a series of “action plans” to tackle the issues identified in the report including diet, physical activity and drug misuse.

Scots believe injustice in society is the reason for the poor health of many, according to the survey conducted by the Scottish Centre for Social Research which was commissioned by NHS Health Scotland.

A majority of people believe there are differences in people’s health based on both their financial situation and the type of area they live in.

Susan Reid, research director at ScotCen, said the findings show that Scots “overwhelmingly” believe the country’s income gap is too large.

“Although there are marked differences in attitudes between different social groups when it comes to views on potential causes of these inequalities, we also observe common ground and shared goals,” she said.

“Most Scots would like government to focus on improving the status quo and there is considerable support for increasing taxes as part of that.”

Health inequalities are defined as unfair and avoidable differences in people’s health across the population and between specific population groups.

The report found seven in ten people (71 per cent) felt those with more money are better able to live healthy lives.

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A similar proportion (72 per cent) said people living in 
better off areas tend to be healthier than those 
living in worse-off areas. However, just under half (48 per cent) felt this represents a big problem.

Scottish Labour said the findings support its call to “make the wealthiest pay their fair share”.