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by Jenni Davidson
19 January 2018
First Minister invited to join international taskforce on fiscal policy for health

First Minister invited to join international taskforce on fiscal policy for health

Nicola Sturgeon - Image credit: Parliament TV

The First Minister has invited to join an international taskforce on fiscal policy for health.

The taskforce was set up by former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg and former chief economist of the World Bank Lawrence Summers.

The task force will bring together economists, development and health leaders from around the world to discuss policy solutions to non-communicable diseases such as diabetes, cancer, heart disease and chronic respiratory diseases.

Non-communicable diseases are the leading cause of death in the world, killing 40 million people each year, making up 70 per cent of all annual deaths.

Eighty percent of NCD deaths occur in low and middle-income countries and tobacco use, obesity and alcohol are three leading risk factors for the development of NCDs.

The task force, which also includes president of Uruguay Tabaré Vázquez, former WHO director general Margaret Chan, Former Prime Minister of New Zealand Helen Clark and Former Nigerian minister of finance Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, will look at fiscal policies could contribute to solutions.

Responding to the announcement that she had been invited to join the taskforce, Nicola Sturgeon said: “I welcome the establishment of this task force, which will look at potential solutions to the growing issue of non-communicable diseases around the world.

 “The Scottish Government has worked tirelessly to develop and implement bold and innovative policies to address public health challenges, including the negative effects of tobacco, excess alcohol consumption and obesity.

“Our commitment to minimum unit pricing is just one example of the action we are taking to improve the health of our population, and to make it easier for people to make healthier choices.

“We are also currently consulting on a new obesity strategy, which includes proposals to restrict promotions of unhealthy food and drink.

“Scotland’s work in the sphere of public health is world-renowned, and I look forward to contributing to this group.

“As part of our public health work, we have often collaborated with other nations and experts across the world, to learn from their approaches and to pass on our learning.

“My experience of this dialogue is that it is both beneficial to Scotland and the nations we have been in discussion with.”

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