• Monday, May 27, 2024
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UK cost-of-living crisis threatens lives, widens wealth gap — Report 


A study published in the open-access journal BMJ Public Health on Monday suggests that the cost-of-living crisis driven by inflation in the United Kingdom could “cut lives short” and “significantly widen the wealth-health gap.”

The study’s modelling anticipates a nearly 6.5 percent increase in the percentage of individuals experiencing premature mortality (dying before the age of 75) as a result of the extended period of elevated prices.

The study found that poorer households will have about four times more extra deaths compared to wealthier ones. This is because poorer families have to spend a larger part of their money on energy, which has become more expensive.

The researchers looked at how rising prices affected the number of deaths in Scotland in 2022–2023.

They also considered if government help to lower household costs made any difference.

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The collected data was then used to model various potential future outcomes on life expectancy and inequalities for the UK as a whole if different mitigating policies were implemented.

The report added that if the government fails to do anything about it, inflation could cause a 5 percent increase in deaths in wealthier areas and a 23 percent increase in poorer areas.

But if the government takes steps to address this, the numbers could be lower—around 2 percent and 8 percent more deaths overall. In any case, everyone’s life expectancy would go down.

“Our analysis contributes to evidence that the economy matters for population health,” said the researchers.

“The mortality impacts of inflation and real-term income reduction are likely to be large and negative, with marked inequalities in how these are experienced.

“Implemented public policy responses are not sufficient to protect health and prevent widening inequalities,” they added.

UK inflation was high at 11.1 percent but unexpectedly dropped to 6.7 percent in August. It’s still the highest in the G7, mainly due to COVID-19 lockdowns, Brexit, and the Ukraine war.