Featured report

The impact of the economic downturn and policy changes on health inequalities in london

Content finder

Find reports on a range of topics about health equality from the IHE and other organisations

Submit content

Got a project, report or case study to share?

Add your projects to the global health equality discussion.


Sir Michael Marmot's
IHE team

The impact of the recession and welfare changes on health inequalities


The IHE was asked by the London Health Inequalities Network to determine the likely effects of the recession and welfare reforms and how these might impact on health inequalities, and our recommendations for addressing them.  We were also asked to develop an indicator set with boroughs in London that could be used to measure change.

 Our first report was published earlier in the year and can be found here

In October 2013, IHE published a set of indicators to help London Boroughs monitor the health impacts of the recession and welfare reforms, and changes in housing, employment and incomes that could impact on health. These are available here.

In 2013 IHE worked with Coventry city council to understand the impacts of the recession and welfare reforms in that city. We will be building on the work from London, looking at appropriate indicators, and considering how Coventry might mitigate against some of the potential deleterious impacts. The final report is available here.

In addition, we are happy to host a selection of other work that focuses on this issue on our webpage.  Report links can be found below. If you have examples of work being done to measure and mitigate against the effects that the recession and welfare reforms might have on health, housing, income and employment, please do send them to us - matilda.allen@ucl.ac.uk.  Please also send a paragraph summary. We will display in the section below.


Reports and other relevant work

Women and Austerity

This collection of articles in Lacuna magazine highlights the impact of austerity measures on women, and suggests possible alternatives tot he current approach to public spending. The full articles are available on the Lacuna website.


Making discretionary housing payments work for disabled people

This shoprt briefing, written by the Papworth trust, summarises the experiences of disabled people applying for discretionary housing payments, and suggests a number of recommendations. The full report is available here.


Surviving Austerity: Local Voices and Local Actions in England's Poorest Neighbourhoods

This report, published by the new economics foundation, addresses the effects of reform to the welfare state. It states: "the welfare state no longer provides an adequate safety net. Many people are struggling just to meet their basic needs. Precarious employment is rising, and in-work poverty has overtaken out-of-work poverty for the first time. Public spending cuts are giving rise to more needs and greater demands on the welfare state. Austerity measures have thwarted the best ambitions of the government's plan to build a 'Big Society'. But people can use local assets and resources to try to tackle these problems."
The full report is available here.


The local impacts of welfare reform: An assessment of cumulative impacts and mitigations.

This report was commissioned from the Centre for Economic and Social Inclusion by the Local Government Association. It assesses the cumulative impacts of all the Government's reforms, and claimants' and local areas' ability to deal with them. The full report is available here.


OECD Economic Surveys: United Kingdom 

OECD's 2013 Economic Survey of the United Kingdom examines recent economic developments, policy and prospects. In addition, it looks at growth and inequality in the UK. This most recent edition was published in February 2013. The full report is available here.


Lewisham Annual Public Health Report 2011-2012: Assessing the Impact of the Financial Crisis on Health and Wellbeing in Lewisham

This year, Lewisham have chosen to focus on the potential impact of the financial crisis on health and wellbeing for their annual public health report. The document covers mental and physical health, and discusses the impacts of chnages to income, employment and housing. It also identifies parts of the population who may be particularly vulnerable. Finally, it addresses the risks and opportunities within the local health care system as result of the Health and Social Care Act. The full report is available here.


Kingston Council work on mitigating the impact of welfare reforms and the recession

Kingston Council have set up a number of programmes to mitigate the impacts of welfare reforms and the recession, including Financial Capability Training Sessions run by the Kingston CAB, partnering with a number of health and other organisations. They have also put in place process, output and outcomes indicators to measure impact. More information is available in this document.

Scottish Public Health Network Guidance for NHS Boards on mitigating actions of UK Welfare Reform

This report, published in April 2013, outlines the UK Government's welfare reform programme and potential impact on health and health services in Scotland. It suggests where health boards may want to focus any mitigating actions to reduce negative impacts. The full report is available here.

Better Futures for All: Report of the Wakefield Poverty and Prosperity Commission

This commission provides recommendations in three areas: Health and Wellbeing, Post 16 Skills and Education, and Regeneration and Employment. It is situated in the context of the recent recession, and cuts in government funding. The report provides a summary of current activity and good practice, and identifies areas for further development and consolidation. The report is available here.


Gaining from Growth: The Final Report of the Commission on Living Standards

The Commission on Living Standards is an independent and wide-ranging investigation into the financial pressures facing low to middle income Britain. Its work has focused on the long-term economic trends that are changing the reality of life on a low to middle income, from trends in the UK labour market and tax and benefit system to new pressures from the cost of living and modern working patterns. The report is available here.


CPAG briefing: Between a Rock and a Hard Place: The Early Impacts of Welfare Reform on London

This report by Child Poverty Action Group and Lasa assesses the current and forthcoming impact of three cuts to social security on families in London: the caps placed on local housing allowance (from April 2011); the benefit cap (from April 2013); and underoccupation penalties for families in social housing (from April 2013). The report is available here.


Health Equalities Issue 2: The Impact of Austerity

Health Equalities is the magazine produced by BHA, the North West-based health equality charity. This issue focuses on how the economic crisis and the programme of austerity are affecting the lives of individuals and communities, hitting hardest those who already face marginalisation and social exclusion. It includes articles on the 'GPs at the deep end' report, clustering of unhealthy behaviour, and others. The magazine is available here.


Liverpool Public Health Observatory: Observatory Report Series No. 88 - Assessing the Impact of the Economic Downturn on Health and Wellbeing

By Lyn Winters, Sharon McAteer and Alex Scott-Samuel; February 2012.
Liverpool Public Health Observatory (LPHO) was commissioned to produce a report on the health impact of the economic downturn. Through a literature review and analysis of key indicators the report assesses the evidence base for the impact of the economic downturn on mental and physical health and use of health and local authority services in the five Merseyside PCTs: Knowsley, Halton and St Helens, Liverpool, Sefton and Wirral. Included in the report is an assessment of effective interventions likely to aid local services in helping their population cope with the effects of the economic downturn. This research will inform commissioning of the likely future service needs. The report is available here.