We've just published our paper on health and economic policy. Click here to download it.
Improving health and wellbeing should be a fundamental aim of the economy yet economic policy making - particularly at a regional level - too often does not include any reference to, or focus on, health. We call for economic policy making to be more closely aligned with health policy to help tackle inequalities, improve wellbeing and increase productivity.
Healthy people and healthy workplaces are proven to be more productive.
The COVID-19 crisis has seen many areas of the country develop economic recovery plans. These plans need to take the approach of improving wellbeing and tackling inequalities through aligning economic policy more deeply with health policy and particularly public health policy.
Some regions are far ahead of others in beginning to integrate health into their local economic strategies and COVID-19 recovery plans. Where this work has begun, we see collaboration and new ways of working in partnership and an equal focus on fairness, health and wellbeing and building a greener economy.
Our research finds that the policy of austerity adopted after the 2008/2009 financial crash did not take into account considerations of health. Significant funding cuts led to an increase in social inequality and ultimately in 2020, disadvantaged groups being disproportionately affected by COVID-19.
Combining both practical delivery and the ethos of ‘building back better’, social enterprises – in all forms such as co-ops, Community Interest Companies, trading charities, community businesses, etc - are uniquely positioned to influence the debate. They pay more fairly; they are more representative of wider society; they embed workplace wellbeing; and they are committed to the natural environment and local communities.
In some regions the social enterprise community has successfully advocated for the adoption of inclusive economics in economic policy. We want to see the same embedding of health for all in economic thinking more widely.