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13 May 2020updated 06 Oct 2020 9:45am

Extended recession could cause “significant number of deaths“, says UK’s chief statistician

By Samuel Horti

An extended recession could cause a “significant number of deaths” through increased poverty, the UK’s national statistician has said.

Professor Ian Diamond, head of the Office for National Statistics, said that an “L-shaped” recession in which the UK economy takes a long time to recover from the pandemic would push people into poverty and long-term unemployment.

“If, and I stress if, we end up with an L-shaped recession, as opposed to a V-shape, where we come back out quite quickly, an L-shape over a long period of time could lead to a significant number of deaths as a result of people being pushed into poverty or into long-term unemployment, and we know that people in the lowest deciles of income have higher mortality rates, and if you increase that, you are likely to see an increase in deaths,” he told a committee of MPs this morning.

His comments come after a report in the Telegraph suggested Treasury officials see a V-shaped recession as unlikely. A leaked internal report listed an L-shaped recession as a worst-case scenario.

 

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