Inflation Threatens to Spike Early Deaths in UK

The cost of living crisis risks leading to thousands of premature deaths in the UK and significantly widening the wealth and health gap between the richest and poorest, a study suggests.

Millions of Britons have been hit hard by levels of inflation not seen since the 1970s, due to the war in Ukraine, Covid, Brexit and economic policy. Poorer households have been hit hardest, as they spend a greater proportion of their income on energy, the cost of which has soared.

Several scenarios

According to a study published in the journal BMJ, premature deaths (people dying before reaching age 75) will increase by 6.5% this year due to the cost of living crisis, with 30 additional deaths per 100,000. people. The study focused on Scotland, but researchers from Public Health Scotland and the University of Glasgow said “similar effects are likely across the UK”.

To ease the impact of the cost of living crisis, the UK government introduced a universal energy price guarantee (EPG) and targeted boosts for poorer households. The researchers developed several scenarios: without any mitigation measures, inflation will increase premature deaths by 5% in the least deprived areas and by 23% in the most deprived areas. With government aid, these figures would fall to between 3% and 16%, and adding cost of living assistance would reduce them to between 2% and 8%.

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Beth Malcolm

Beth Malcolm is Scottish based Journalist at Heriot-Watt University studying French and British Sign Language. She is originally from the north west of England but is living in Edinburgh to complete her studies.