The UK government should launch a national mission to improve people’s health and prosperity—mirroring society’s ambitions for tackling climate change—to avert long term economic decline, analysts have said.
The Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR), in a report published on 27 April by its commission on health and prosperity, found that lost earnings linked to long term sickness cost the UK economy £43bn in 2021—equivalent to around 2% of gross domestic product.1
It concluded that the UK is getting poorer and sicker, that the malaise is deep rooted and precedes the covid-19 pandemic, and that policy must shift out of “apathy” if it is to stop population health going backwards.
It proposed setting new legal targets and raising more investment for prevention, under a Health and Prosperity Act that would “make health everyone’s business” in the way that the 2008 Climate Change Act catalysed action on reducing carbon emissions.
Sally Davies, a former chief medical officer for England who co-chairs the IPPR’s commission on health …