The cost of living crisis is the subject of the second in a series of rapid reviews of evidence for interventions that can be made by local authorities, the Greater London Authority and system partners in London to reduce health inequalities. The report presents evidence for interventions that can support Londoners when high inflation threatens to widen inequalities in health.
‘The Rising Cost of Living: A Review of Interventions to Reduce the Health Impacts in London’ explains that the cost-of-living crisis is harming the same groups who were also harmed by a decade of austerity 2010-20. Those affected include children, women, people living with disabilities and long-term conditions, people from minority ethnic groups, lone parents and people who are socially excluded, such as rough sleepers, undocumented migrants and sex workers.
Despite being the richest city in the UK, London has the highest rate of poverty of any region in England, with more than a quarter (27%) of the capital’s residents living in poverty in 2021, after taking housing costs into account. The review points to an urgent need for coordinated activity, with organisations playing their role as employers, service providers and commissioners, and explains there is no single mitigating intervention.
Combinations of interventions are needed at national and local interventions to address the different factors (including health) that contribute to a person or household’s financial circumstances, and the impacts on health and health inequalities that will result. The recommendations are structured around three factors that contribute to whether a household or individual can cope with high inflation: income, the cost of essential outgoings, and financial resilience, along with overarching recommendations that cut across these themes.
The accompanying Data Companion Pack (available in PDF and PPT format) presents indicators of the drivers and impacts of rising inflation on people in London and should be read in conjunction with the review of interventions.