OBESE people who go on a diet or go to the gym should be given tax credits or cash, according to a West Cork TD.
Fine Gael’s Jim Daly has come up with the idea of offering tax credits to people who successfully participate in a ‘Get Fit’ scheme that he has devised.
Deputy Daly said he ran the proposal by the Minister for Health, Leo Varadkar, earlier this year, and the minister expressed a real interest in the scheme that would have similar goals and aspirations as “Operation Transformation”.
The Clonakilty-based TD said the minister tasked him with researching the scheme and he received ‘considerable and valuable input’ from local taxation, medical, motivational and fitness practitioners in putting the proposal together.
It is envisaged that the scheme would offer a cash reward to people who take on a prescribed fitness plan and achieve the targets set out by an approved medical practitioner.
Deputy Daly said he is concerned by the growing levels of obesity in Ireland – today more than 60% of the population fit into this category.
‘A pilot programme in the Cork area might see successful participants gain a tax credit of around €250, whilst those on welfare would receive a Christmas bonus,’ said Mr Daly.
‘The idea is to encourage preventative measures that would keep people healthy instead of waiting for them to develop serious illnesses – many of which are entirely preventable.’
The scheme would, of course, require cabinet approval. However, with Minister Varadkar’s support, Mr Daly said he is confident the Government would pass the new measure.