Tuesday, 05 March 2019 17:39



Devolution has been good for Scotland’s health, according to independent analysis by the Scottish Parliament’s Information Centre (SPICe).

Since devolution the prevalence of smoking and harmful drinking has fallen dramatically in Scotland, with the number of current smokers dropping from around 35% in 1998 to 20% in 2017.

Meanwhile, the proportion of adult males deemed to be at risk from harmful drinking has dropped by around 15% while the number of females at risk has reduced by around 5%.

The report found that improved public health could be attributed to key legislation passed by the Scottish Parliament, much of it ahead of its time in comparison to the rest of the UK. Commenting, the author states:

“Scotland has maintained a focus on the social determinants of health and blazed a trail with some brave public health initiatives. These have included the smoking ban and minimum unit pricing and the Scottish Parliament has been at the centre of these.”

NHS spending over the period has also steadily risen from 6% of GDP in 1998/99 to 8% under this SNP Scottish Government.

However, the research warns that the UK government’s policies of austerity and welfare reform may have a detrimental effect on wider public health.

Commenting, SNP MSP Emma Harper said:

“Making decisions about Scotland, in Scotland, has been good for us – with public health one example.

“The Scottish Government is continuing to take great strides in improving our public health – leading the UK by introducing progressive policies for the future such as the SNP’s Minimum Unit Pricing on alcohol.

“Worryingly, this report underlines the widespread destruction Tory austerity has caused across Scotland – driving down living standards, squeezing household budgets and impacting our public health.

“Devolution has been good for the country – but independence would be even better.”


Notes: https://spice-spotlight.scot/2019/03/04/has-devolution-been-good-for-our-health/

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