Commenting on the package of measures announced today by the Chancellor Rishi Sunak, Dr Jennifer Dixon, Chief Executive at the Health Foundation, said:
'Today the Chancellor has taken positive steps to boost the economy and to mitigate the risk of potentially devastating levels of unemployment in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. There is welcome recognition of the profound impact unemployment has on the health and wellbeing of young people. But the government needs to be much bolder to ensure the rhetoric of ‘levelling up’ becomes reality. More action and investment will be needed in the areas that have strongest influence on people’s health and wellbeing, including social security, children’s services and education, along with further support in the autumn to deal with ongoing economic shocks.
'The Chancellor’s measures lay bare the cost of COVID-19 for the health service. Providing PPE and running the NHS track and trace programme will cost over £25bn this year, which is almost a fifth of total health spending in normal times. Without a vaccine, COVID-19 will have a very large, long-term price tag for the NHS. The cash injection for social care is also positive but won’t be enough to address the policy failures that have left so many people in this sector vulnerable to the pandemic. Significant extra investment and fundamental reform of social care cannot be avoided any longer.’
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