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CBI launches ambitious taskforce to tackle economic inactivity and improve both the health and wealth of the nation

  • Economic inactivity due to long term sickness is historically high and ill-health is costing the UK economy £180bn in lost output.
  • Many companies know the value of tackling societal and workplace ill-health and are already leading the way on interventions.
  • CBI today launches a new Health & Work Taskforce to propose new solutions to improving our health and wellbeing within 18 months.

With economic inactivity historically high, ill-health costing the UK economy £180bn in lost output, and millions of lost working days annually, the need to find solutions driven by employers and supported by government is critical.

The latest labour market statistics released this month showed the numbers of inactive people due to long-term sickness is at a record high, and over a quarter of those who are now inactive cite long-term sickness as the driver.

Business-led health interventions such as free health screening, employee assistance programmes and workplace ergonomic assessments- could contribute up to £36 billion in output to the economy – through a 20% reduction in the impact of ill-health on our collective workforce.  That’s why partnership between industry and government is crucial within this Parliamentary term.

The employers’ organisation, the CBI is today launching and co-chairing a new Health and Work Taskforce – backed by industry CEOs alongside the TUC and the Health Foundation – to recommend and implement near-term actions which will lead to long-term benefits.

The Taskforce will identify what UK industry can do to improve the health of their workforces and the working age population more broadly. It will also identify where government can provide signals, framework and incentives to help the whole economy to value health investment more proactively.

The recommendations will be publicised at the CBI’s Inaugural Healthier Nation Conference in late September.

Brian McBride, CBI President, said: 

“A competitive and growing economy can only be built with a healthy and resilient labour market. Our current ‘deal’ on prevention in the UK doesn’t incentivise employers sufficiently and industry’s expertise and reach feels like an untapped resource for resetting our trajectory on societal ill-health.

“We saw important measures announced by the Chancellor at the Spring Budget on occupational health, but lots more can be done within this parliamentary term to seize the prizes available – from reducing sickness absence to growing health industries and alleviating NHS pressures.

“Co-chairing the Taskforce with the CBI will be representatives from the TUC and Health Foundation.  We have committed to deliver on this important agenda within an ambitious timetable pre-summer recess. It's time to roll up our sleeves on new thinking to improve our national health and wealth.”

The taskforce will:

  • Convene officials, regulators, and industry leaders and draw upon their expertise for an 8–12-week period.
  • Identify levers that the government and industry can pull within 18 months to support the health of the working age population and reset the UK’s trajectory on societal ill-health.
  • Provide practical solutions for costing and consideration at the Autumn Statement.
  • Recommendations to be publicised at CBI’s Inaugural Healthier Nation Conference this September.

Sian Elliott, Senior Policy Officer & Public Services Lead TUC, said: 

“Following the pandemic, both our collective and individual health has become paramount for employers and employees alike. Workers across the UK deserve the best quality pay and benefits, as well as access to high quality services when needed. We hope that this Taskforce is a step forward on convening employers of all sizes to redouble their efforts with the help of government.”

Jennifer Dixon, CEO Health Foundation, said: 

‘‘Health and work are two sides of the same coin. Good, secure jobs are essential building blocks for our health, while a healthy and productive workforce is the engine that powers our economy. Health is an asset that should be invested in rather than seen as a cost on the balance sheet. This Taskforce is an important opportunity to make progress on the journey to becoming a healthier, more prosperous nation.’

Original article link: https://www.cbi.org.uk/media-centre/articles/cbi-launches-ambitious-taskforce-to-tackle-economic-inactivity-and-improve-both-the-health-and-wealth-of-the-nation/

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