"Economic murder": Senior UK public health researchers say 120,000 people died under Tory austerity

Dr Ben Maruthappu, a senior public health researcher from University College London is the lead author on a forthcoming peer-reviewed paper in the BMJ Open which attempts to quantify additional deaths attributable to the UK Conservative Party's austerity measures under the 2010-2015 coalition government and the Tory governments since; Maruthappu and his co-authors attribute 120,000 deaths to austerity, and call them "economic murder."

The Conservative Government's commitment to austerity following the financial crisis struck at the entire British social safety net, slashing medical funding, home visits, interventions for vulnerable children, education, ante-natal care, food security, housing benefit, assistance for disabled people and pensioners, and every other mechanism for mitigating the effects of poverty. At the same time, the UK has experienced decades of erosion of the rights of tenants, workers, and consumers in respect of their dealings with corporations, landlords, and employers, with predictable wage stagnation, workplace stress, and income and wealth inequality.

The study predicts that the death-toll from these policies will rise to 200,000 by 2020. The study predicts that preventing these deaths and returning UK public health levels to pre-2010 levels would require at least £25.3 billion in additional public spending.

Per capita public health spending between 2001 and 2010 increased by 3.8 per cent a year, but in the first four years of the Coalition, increases were just 0.41 per cent, researchers from University College London found.

In social care the annual budget increase collapsed from 2.20 per cent annually, to a decrease of 1.57 per cent.

The researchers found this coincided with death rates which had decreased by around 0.77 per cent a year to 2010, beginning to increase again by 0.87 per cent a year.

And the majority of those were people reliant on social care, the paper says: “This is most likely because social care experienced greater relative spending constraints than healthcare."

It also notes that a drop in nurse numbers may have accounted for 10 per cent of deaths, concluding: "We have found that spending constraints since 2010, especially public expenditure on social care, may have produced a substantial mortality gap in England.”

Landmark study links Tory austerity to 120,000 deaths [Alex Matthews-King/The Independent]

(via Late Stage Capitalism)

(Image: Matt Buck, CC-BY-SA)