The living wage will make Dumbarton, Vale of Leven and Helensburgh healthier, as well as wealthier.

That’s the message from local MSP Jackie Baillie citing research that showed that paying the living wage would reduce the strain on local health services.

Jackie said that the money saved by NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde could be as much as £3.7 million after 2 years and £57.5 million after 20 years.

The research was conducted by the respected Scottish Public Health Observatory and calculated how much money the NHS could save based on “prevented hospitalisations”.

The figure for Scotland as a whole is more than £250m over a 20 year period.

Jackie is a long time campaigner for the living wage and has backed extending it to more low paid jobs like catering and retail and social care.

The Dumbarton MSP saw Scottish Labour plans to extend the living wage blocked five times in 2014 by the Scottish Government but has said that this new research shows the case for the living wage to be overwhelming.

There are 12,000 people in Argyll and Bute and West Dunbartonshire paid less than the living wage.

Jackie said:

“The evidence for delivering the living wage is now overwhelming. It makes moral sense, it makes business sense and now it is clear that it will save money for public services, like our NHS.

“Too many people in Dumbarton, Vale of Leven and Helensburgh need a pay rise. Too many families are one unexpected bill away from choosing between heating and eating. Meanwhile, our NHS is teetering on the verge of crisis, overstretched and underfunded.

“We can tackle both problems with the living wage. That is why I supported plans to extend it to more workers this year. I want to see it in jobs where it would really make a difference, like catering, retail and caring.

“The SNP voted against the living wage five times in 2014. That is simply wrong when over 400,000 people in Scotland are paid less than the living wage, 6000 in West Dunbartonshire and another 6000 in Argyll and Bute. It is time to get serious about better pay for workers in Dumbarton Constituency and across Scotland

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