There are now more than a million workers missing from the workforce compared to pre-pandemic figures, according to a report published by the IPPR think tank.
About 400,000 of these are no longer working because of health factors relating to the pandemic, including long Covid, according to the IPPR.
The report suggests that unresolved, this ‘will drag down economic activity this year by an estimated £8 billion’.
The nation’s health affects the economy in more ways than keeping workers away from their jobs. Poor health can affect productivity and promote chronic stress. Inhabitants of economically deprived areas of the country show poorer health, have fewer job opportunities and tend to be paid less.
Dame Sally Davies, co-chair of the Commission on Health and Prosperity, said:
‘A fairer country is a healthier one, and a healthier country is a more prosperous one. While the restrictions have eased, the scars of the pandemic still remain deep on the nation’s health and our economy.
‘Not only are we facing a severe cost of living crisis, driven in part by pandemic induced inflation, we’re also experiencing a workforce shortage driven by poor health that’s holding back the economy. It has never been more important to put good health at the heart of our society and economy – and our commission will bring forward a plan to do just that.’