Local government funding cuts have ‘probably cost lives,’ study warns

By Laura Sharman | 15 July 2021

Cuts in local government funding over recent years have probably cost lives and reduced life expectancy, academics have warned in a new study.

The research, conducted by the University of Liverpool and published in The Lancet Public Health, found that between 2013 and 2017 council funding decreased by 33% or £168 per person.

It said that for every £100 reduction in funding, life expectancy fell by 1.3 months for men and 1.2 months for women.

The study also found that funding cuts were associated with an additional 9,600 deaths in people younger than 75 years old.

Corresponding author Alexandros Alexiou said: ‘Our research shows that cuts to local government over recent years have probably cost lives.

'We found that, during a period of large reductions in funding for local government in England, areas that experienced the greatest cuts also experienced slower improvements or a decline in life expectancy.

'As funding for the most deprived areas decreased to a greater extent, they experienced the most adverse impact – widening health inequalities.

'Fair and equitable investment in local government services can redress these inequalities.'

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