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Pandemic report reveals massive hit to the North of England’s health and economy

Posted on 10 November 2020

The Coronavirus pandemic has had a disproportionate impact on the North of England – leading to more deaths and greater social and economic hardship than any other region in England, according to a new report.

The report shows children in the North are being disproportionately affected by the Coronavirus crisis.

The research, which involved analysis from leading University of York health expert Professor Kate Pickett, concluded that the epidemic has exacerbated inequalities between the North and the rest of the country and that mitigating measures must be put in place to stop inequalities rising further and faster.


The report called, Covid-19 and the Northern Powerhouse: Tackling Health Inequalities for UK Health and Productivity, also found:

  • An extra 57.7 more people per 100,000 died in the Northern Powerhouse region than the rest of England between March and July.
  • Mental and financial well-being was hardest hit in the Northern Powerhouse region, as was loneliness.
  • Reductions in mental well-being in the Northern Powerhouse region could cost the UK economy up to £5 billion in reduced productivity.
  • Austerity disproportionately affected the Northern Powerhouse region, particularly areas of high deprivation which led to reduced productivity.
  • Pre-pandemic child health, a key predictor of life-long health and economic productivity, was poor and deteriorating in the Northern Powerhouse region. Since the pandemic adverse trends in poverty, education, employment and mental health for children and young people have been exacerbated.
  • Economic outcomes, particularly unemployment rates, were hardest hit in the Northern Powerhouse region.

Professor Pickett from the University’s Department of Health Sciences, who is also Deputy Director of the Centre for Future Health, co-led on the report’s research focused on children. Her work shows how children in the North were already falling behind children elsewhere in England, and are being disproportionately affected by the Coronavirus crisis.

Professor Kate Pickett said: "Covid-19 has brought into sharp focus the unacceptable inequalities in health and life chances suffered by children in the North. We need policies now that support our families and children during and following the pandemic."


 Professor of Public Health, Clare Bambra from Newcastle University added: “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 North 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. ”

The report authors make a series of recommendations to stop further deteriorations in the level of inequalities. These include: additional Test and Trace systems, targeting the clinically vulnerable and deprived communities in the first phase of the roll out of the Covid-19 vaccine, reducing child poverty and investing in mental health interventions.

The report was released today by the Northern Health Science Alliance, the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Applied Research Collaborations (North East and North Cumbria, Greater Manchester, North West Coast, Yorkshire and Humber), and the NIHR School of Public Health.

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About this research

The full report called, Covid-19 and the Northern Powerhouse: Tackling Health Inequalities for UK Health and Productivity can be read here

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