The inflation-fueled cost-of-living crisis in the United Kingdom is expected to “shorten the lifespan” of the population and “widen the gap” between the rich and the poor in terms of health services, according to a study published by the magazine “BMJ Public Health” on Monday.
The study expected the percentage of people who “die prematurely” (under the age of 75) to increase by about 6.5% due to continued high prices for long periods.
The study indicated that the poorest families are likely to witness a number of deaths four times higher than what would be recorded among the richest families, with poor families having to spend a greater percentage of their income on energy bills, which have witnessed a significant increase.
The researchers studied the impact of inflation on death rates in Scotland in 2022-2023, with and without mitigating measures such as government support that contributes to reducing household bills.
The data collected was used to model potential future outcomes on life expectancy and inequality in the UK, if a number of mitigating policies were adopted.
If no similar measure is implemented, inflation may cause the death rate to increase by 5% in the least poor areas, and 23% in the poorest areas, according to the study, which indicated that these two percentages would decrease to 2% and 8% if the state intervenes, with an overall rate It reached about 6.5%.
The study indicated that overall life expectancy would also decrease in each case.
“Our study contributes to providing evidence of the importance of the economy to population health,” the researchers said.
“The effects of inflation and falling income in real terms are likely to be large and negative, with notable variations in how this is addressed,” they added.
“Implementing government policies is not sufficient to protect health and prevent worsening inequalities,” the researchers noted.
The UK inflation rate unexpectedly slowed in August to 6.7% from 11.1%, but it remains the highest among the G7 countries. The lockdown due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Brexit, and the war in Ukraine played a role in fueling this inflation.