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Liberal Democrats call for financial incentives to stay healthy

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The NHS could save up to 10% of its annual £100bn budget through better illness prevention which would cut treatment costs if people were incentivised to live healthier lifestyles, according to the Liberal Democrats.

Liberal Democrat health spokesman Norman Lamb announced plans to give tax breaks to people that choose to live healthy lifestyles take regular exercise and participate in regular health checks and screening.

He told delegates at the party's annual conference last week in Bournemouth that people should be awarded 'points' for leading healthier lives. Primary care trusts or strategic health authorities would be given the power to use these points to reduce the amount of tax people then have to pay.

‘You have got to find a way to incentivise better health. The scheme has to be practical and has to work in disadvantaged areas too. You could, for instance, have a card which you swipe whenever you take part in regular screenings or when you take part in physical exercise,’ he added.

A similar scheme introduced in California has reduced the smoking rate from 15% to 9%.

Mr Lamb also suggested that people should be fined for missing NHS appointments.

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