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Pandemic costs the North nearly £7bn

The Northern Health Science Alliance study, entitled COVID-19 and the Northern Powerhouse: Tackling Health Inequalities for UK Health and Productivity, estimates that the economic cost of the increased mortality in the North during the pandemic is £6.86bn. It adds that this is a conservative estimate.

An extra 57.7 more people per 100,000 died in the Northern Powerhouse than the rest of England between March and July.

Written in collaboration with the NIHR Applied Research Collaborations and the NIHR School of Public Health Research, the report also found that the reductions in mental wellbeing in the region due to the pandemic has cost the North around £5bn a year.

The study noted that austerity put the region in a more vulnerable position before the pandemic broke out by reducing health and wellbeing in the North. It cost the UK around £2bn a year in lost productivity, with over £16bn lost since 2011.

Professor Clare Bambra, professor of public health, Newcastle University, said: ‘Our report highlights that we are not all in the pandemic together with the Northern regions being hardest hit. Health and wealth in the Northern Powerhouse lagged behind the rest of the country even before the COVID pandemic, and over the last year our significant regional inequalities have been exacerbated.

‘We need to significantly “level up” the country by providing immediate additional support to local authorities and devolved administrations in the North – and by investing further in public health prevention in the Northern Powerhouse. In this way, we can reduce the inequalities that the pandemic has highlighted and ensure that our regions are better equipped for building back better.’