Below is a slightly edited version of the speech Ian Gallagher hoped to give at #SNP19 on the New Zealand Wellbeing Budget.
Ian would like to thank both Tom and Kirsty for bringing forward this important resolution on the New Zealand Wellbeing Budget.
Scotland has always been a country of innovation.
Since the enlightenment our quest for knowledge and sprit of discovery has shaped the world;
from Hume’s definition of human nature, to Watt’s steam engine, to Fleming’s discovery of penicillin;
Scotland defined the modern world and we can do it again.
While we won’t be the first to enact a wellbeing budget, we’re uniquely placed to be the next.
It was Adam Smith, a Scot who defined the meaning GDP. And It would be wrong for the country who invented the free market not to re-write the wealth of nations for the modern age.
The New Zealand wellbeing budget provides us with a framework to build upon. Their budget takes steps like a mass investment in mental health services, re-introducing the indexing of family social security benefits and investing billions in their healthcare system.
Readers might not know this but here in Scotland;
We’ve invested 1.1 billion in mental health services;
We’ve a social security system with a new child payment to give every child the best possible start in life;
and an NHS funded fully with real terms increases year on year.
This is the SNP’s record and it is the Scotland we are building, within the confines of devolution.
Despite all this progress- in Scotland today the circumstances of your birth defines your individual life chances.
If you’re born into the most disadvantaged communities, you’ll have 23 less healthy years if you’re a woman and 22.5 years less if you’re a man compared to those from the least due to income inequality and diseases of poverty.
Your life chances are defined by your postcode.
The evidence is clear the more equal a country the better their health outcomes.
A wellbeing budget which puts happiness at its heart will allow us to build a more equal country which reduces health inequalities year on year.
A Scottish wellbeing budget will allow us to realise the true wealth of our nation.
Where Our GDP will measure everything that matters and gives everyone an equal chance.
Our budget will say we’re not country where your life chances are defined by your postcode.
But a nation defined by the common weal of our talents, ingenuity and happiness.