Labour Health spokesperson Jackie Baillie has revealed she wants to
reintroduce prescription charges.

On STV's Scotland Tonight last night, Jackie Baillie confirmed she
wants to reimpose these charges, which were abolished in Scotland in
April 2011 with Labour support, and have also been abolished in Wales
and Northern Ireland.

This follows a Welsh Tory press release that praises Johann Lamont and
Ed Miliband for opposing free prescriptions – and condemning Leader of
the Labour party in Wales Carwyn Jones for backing the policy and
committing to it in his party’s next manifesto.

Mark Mcdonald, a member of the Scottish Parliament’s Health and Sport
Committee, said:

“Jackie Baillie should be ashamed of herself. As the Labour
spokesperson on health, who even tried to claim the abolition of
prescription charges as a Labour victory, she knows how unfair this
tax on ill-health is on sick people.

“Prescription charges in England are £7.65 per prescription per person
– how does Labour think that helps people in this tough economic

“While Ms Baillie opposes free prescriptions, her colleagues in Wales
know the benefits of the policy and are clearly not in thrall to the
party leadership in London like Labour in Scotland is.

“If she and the Labour Party got their way in abolishing free
prescriptions, what would the next policy be, where would they draw
the line?

“Until they were abolished last year by the SNP, 600,000 people across
Scotland with an income as little as £16,000 were charged for their
prescriptions when they became ill.

“These people welcome the extra money in their pockets from not having
to pay for prescriptions – they shouldn’t need to fear becoming ill.

“The Labour leadership in Scotland have lost their way, having turned
into cheerleaders for Osborne’s austerity agenda, instead of looking
for ways to protect hard-pressed families and vulnerable people. The
SNP is the only party in Scotland committed to healthcare free at the
point of need.”

Copyright © Angus MacDonald MSP 2017

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