UK to lose £8bn from Covid-induced shrinking workforce | Economy
Britain’s economy will take an £8billion hit this year due to a reduction in the size of the workforce caused by a pandemic-induced rise in health problems, research has shown. a think tank.
A report by the Institute for Public Policy Research said a combination of long Covid, NHS disruptions and a rise in mental illness meant 400,000 workers had gone missing since the start of the global health crisis.
The report, published to mark the launch of the IPPR’s two-year Health and Welfare Commission, said the UK was paying a high price for deep health inequalities and ineffective policies that meant that people lived shorter lives and faced greater obstacles to staying and getting to work.
The IPPR said the relationship between health and the economy goes beyond people off work due to illness and ill health, and is a crucial factor in low productivity, low growth and UK’s vast regional inequalities.
Two years into the pandemic, Britain’s workforce is more than a million fewer than it would have been on pre-crisis trends. The IPPR said health factors were responsible for almost half of the decline.
People living in the most economically deprived areas of the country, such as Blackpool, Knowsley and Barking and Dagenham, fell into poor health on average in their late 50s, five years earlier than the national average and 12 years earlier than people living in the healthiest place, Wokingham.
Dame Sally Davies, former Chief Medical Officer of England and co-chair of the IPPR’s Health and Welfare Commission, said there had never been a more important time to put good health at the heart of society and the economy. “A fairer country is a healthier country, and a healthier country is a more prosperous country,” she said. “Although restrictions have eased, the scars of the pandemic remain deep on the health of the nation and our economy.”
Another member of the commission, Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester, said: “One of the fundamental beliefs of the British public is that everyone should have access to good health, regardless of their means and location. But right now, we see serious inequities in health and opportunity. Good health must be embedded in all the places where people live across the country and communities must be supported to better control their health and well-being.