Our health: the price we will pay for the cost-of-living crisis

The cost-of-living crisis is a public health crisis. It is having an immediate impact on millions of households.

The lasting consequences of the cost-of-living crisis have the potential to leave a generation in poorer health than their predecessors. This cuts across society, but will be felt unequally and is likely to worsen health inequalities. The cost-of-living crisis will also have a negative impact on economic activity and the financial health of the country.

A Royal Society for Public Health report

With the current financial crisis set to last, it is crucial that we understand how public health is being impacted now and will be in the future, so that effective solutions can be developed. This report marks the beginning of RSPH’s programme of work on the impact of the crisis on the public’s health, inequalities and ways to alleviate this. This programme of work is a core part of RSPH’s new strategy, all of which are woven throughout this report: everyone can improve the public’s health; inequalities matter; and an empowered public health workforce is crucial to unlocking health and prosperity in communities across the country.



of households indicated that they are worried they are running out of ways to minimise costs further without cutting back on essentials


are concerned that the cost-of-living is impacting their physical health


Less than half of respondents are confident they can rely on social and family networks for mental and emotional support this winter

We are calling for:

1. Adequate financial support for families and services - targeted support for those most at risk and appropriate funding for local government

The government must view the expansion of such support as a direct investment into the future health and prosperity of the nation.

2. Champion policy innovation to maximise available supports

As many in society - including businesses, local authorities and central government - navigate a resource-constrained environment, greater policy and practice innovation is needed across our entire societal infrastructure.

3. Monitoring the long-term health impacts of the cost of living

Data on the impacts of financial security and wellbeing are crucial to drive the development and delivery of public health support. This needs to be conducted independently and serving local & national level needs.

4. Support the public health workforce so they can support us

The public health workforce is key to the health of the nation. A long-term strategy and collective workforce plan are needed to support and grow the public health workforce. RSPH has worked on this previously and we welcome the opportunity to work with others on this going forward.

If you have any questions or would like further information please contact our Policy team at [email protected]


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