Employers support tax breaks for Scotland

04 February 2014

Tax break introduction intended to rid Scotland of its 'Sick Man of Europe' label

  • 47% of respondents believe a Scottish parliament should introduce tax breaks for the provision of health and well-being programmes
  • 40% of respondents believe that as an independent country, Scotland should have its own State Pension system and Pension Age due to low life expectancy
  • 61% of respondents believe that public sector pensions in an independent Scotland would need to be reformed
The results of the seventh and latest JLT 250 Club report (canvassing the views of large private sector employers) have highlighted that nearly half of respondents (47%) believe a Scottish parliament should introduce tax breaks for the provision of health and wellbeing programmes, with nearly one-third (31%) saying they would introduce such a programme or extend an existing one if such tax breaks were introduced. This is set against the backdrop that the cost to the Scottish economy of work days lost through sickness is more than £1bn p.a., with 1.7m days lost in 2011/12, the majority of which are caused or made worse by work.

Malcolm Paul, Chairman of JLT Employee Benefits in Scotland commented: 

"There has been a lot of talk about Scotland having lower State pension ages than the rest of the UK because average life expectancy in Scotland is lower. However, this is just addressing the symptoms and not treating the disease. The real issue is ‘how to improve life expectancy in Scotland?' and at least part of the answer has to be through positive lifestyle changes to improve the health of the population. Scotland's label as ‘the sick man of Europe' has to be addressed!

"Previous research has demonstrated that employee wellbeing programmes can achieve a positive cost benefit ratio ranging from more than 2.3 to 10. In other words, for every £1,000 spent on the programme, the cost benefit can be up to £10,000 in well run programmes. Providing tax breaks for wellbeing programmes could therefore have a very positive effect on the Scottish economy."

Dr Rob Lawson, a Fellow of the Royal College of General Practitioners and Managing Director of Core Synergies Limited (a Lifestyle Medicine Centre), said: 

"According to the Quality Outcome Framework statistics and the Scottish Health Survey, the national prevalence of lifestyle and other related diseases in Scotland are all increasing year on year, and 46% of the population have a long term health condition. Furthermore, healthy life expectancy in Scotland is the lowest in Europe, and these problems will only get worse as by 2024, fifty percent of the Scottish population will be over the age of 50.

"I would therefore wholeheartedly support any initiative to encourage employers to implement or improve employee wellbeing programmes."

The Survey also found the majority of employers (61%) believe that public sector pensions in an independent Scotland would need to be reformed.

With less than one year until the referendum, the independence debate has been gaining momentum. In November 2013, Scotland's First Minister, Alex Salmond, launched his party's 670 page blueprint for an independent Scotland. This treatise contained, among other things, a number of pension specific proposals, including a review on an appropriate State Pension Age for Scotland given its lower life expectancy.

Other key findings in the survey include the fact that nearly half of respondents (49%) believe an independent Scotland should establish its own Pensions Regulator and Pension Protection Fund, while 34% of respondents believe that the Scottish Parliament should continue with the Westminster programme of pension reforms in public sector pensions.
Notes to Editors 


JLT Employee Benefits: 
Jennifer Warner
+44 (0)1344 464 582

Smithfield Consultants:
Andrew Wilde
+44 (0)20 7903 0661  

Ged Brumby
+44 (0)20 7903 0674 

About JLT Employee Benefits 

JLT Employee Benefits is one of the UK's leading employee benefit providers offering a wide range of benefit and pension services, including administration, actuarial and pension consultancy, investment, Self Invested Personal Pensions (SIPPs) and Small Self Administered Schemes (SSASs) administration, flexible benefits, healthcare, benefit communication and financial education.

JLT Employee Benefits employs over 2,200 professionals throughout the UK and in 2013 had revenues of £172m in UK & Ireland.

Pensions and employee benefits companies within the JLT Employee Benefits group of companies include: JLT Benefit Solutions Ltd, Profund Solutions Limited, JLT Wealth Management Limited, JLT Investment Management Limited and Independent Trustee Services Limited. JLT Employee Benefits is part of Jardine Lloyd Thompson Group plc.


About Jardine Lloyd Thompson Group plc 

Jardine Lloyd Thompson is one of the world's largest providers of insurance and employee benefits related advice, brokerage and associated services. JLT's client proposition is built upon its deep specialist knowledge, client advocacy, tailored advice and service excellence.

JLT is quoted on the London Stock Exchange and owns offices in 39 territories with some 9,000 employees. Supported by the JLT International Network, it offers risk management and employee benefit solutions in 135 countries.