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Cuts to public services and living standards in Britain since 2010 have led to 335,000 excess deaths – twice as many as previously thought, according to new research. These austerity measures were imposed by the coalition government elected to office that year, partly in response to the 2008 banking crash.

Previous evaluations indicated this 152,000 people died prematurely between 2015 and 2019 due to austerity. The a new studyconducted by researchers from the University of Glasgow and the Glasgow Center for Population Health and published in Journal of Epidemiology and Public Healthsuggests that this was an underestimate, and suggests that austerity measures have had an increasing effect over time.

These findings are alarming for several reasons. They suggest that men suffered far more than that we thought first. In addition, the UK government is now planning to launch a a new round a very large reduction in government spending. Against this backdrop, these new figures for excess deaths are linked to a previous period of austerity in government spending might give us an idea of what may lie ahead this time as well.

They were also relevant general decline in Great Britain life expectancy between 2014 and 2018, with large falls for certain groups such as the poorest tenth of the population, although the health of people living in the most affluent areas continued to improve. Previous suggestions that influenza or particularly cold winters may have been key causes does not stand up to scrutiny, given that there was neither an unusual flu outbreak nor any particularly cold winters during this period.

Before this new study, some contested the idea that austerity could be blamed for the rise in deaths, pointing out that most of those who died prematurely were old and therefore benefited from “triple lock” UK state pension.

This safety net was introduced in 2010 to ensure that pensions will grow by the greater of inflation, wage growth or 2.5% a year. In theory, this meant that pensioners over the age of 66 were protected from the effects of austerity. Unfortunately, this was not true.

Between 2010 and 2020, the average British pensioner saw their real weekly income (after housing costs) rise by just £12 to £331 a week. That’s a paltry 3.8% increase. throughout the decade, which is £1.71 extra per day. This in no way compensates for the increase in fuel and other costs especially painful poorer pensioners.

The overall increase in weekly income was so small because other government benefits that pensioners received and could afford fell in real terms. For example, the proportion of pensioners receiving disability benefits dropped from 23% to 19% between 2010 and 2020.

Poorer pensioners and those most in need have also been hit hardest by cuts to public services. They have lost visits from an adult social worker and carer, help from local authorities and much more that existed in 2010 but has largely disappeared in 2019.

It is now clear that many more people have died prematurely due to the direct and indirect effects of austerity and state policy than we first thought. In international comparisons, only the UK and US saw cuts as bad their impact on health and well-being so endured.

Public policy in the USA has changed since Joe Biden was elected and took office in January 2021, Britain, by contrast, has moved in the opposite direction.

Data reporter John Burn-Murdoch argued recently that by adopting what may well be “the most extreme economic stance of any major party in the developed world”, Liz Truss’ Conservative government has “cut off from the British people”.

More people in Britain died from austerity in the five years before the pandemic than died from COVID-19 in the first three years of the pandemic. The effects of austerity continued after the pandemic, but were harder to see at first.

However, in August 2022, the Financial Times published estimates suggest that a large proportion of recent non-Covid deaths can be attributed to just one aspect of austerity: waiting more than 12 hours to be seen in emergency and emergency departments.

The pandemic has not gone away. There are cases rises again. So is the death associated with austerity.

The coming winter worries me the most. The last time Britain suffered a similar energy crisis was during Edward Heath’s term in office (1970–1974). It was also the last time a prime minister in Britain took office after winning a general election and left after losing it.

Today, despite all the deaths from strictness and the pandemic, the UK is far away more elderly and frail people than it was in the early 1970s. This decade was characterized by much greater social solidarity and inequality in income and wealth all time low. Life expectancy has never declined or even slowed down in growth, despite rising heating costs and power outages.

The situation we face now is more like the 1930s. Then we were just as unequal as today. The death rate was very high in poor areas. Most people were poor. There were few average areas. And the very wealthy protected themselves with their wealth.


More than 300,000 ‘excess’ UK deaths blamed on UK government’s austerity policies


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Citation: Austerity measures have led to twice as many deaths in the UK as previously thought. Here’s what it means for future cuts (2022, October 7) Retrieved October 7, 2022, from https://medicalxpress.com/news/2022-10-austerity-excess-uk-deaths-previously.html

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