The cost of lockdown on Britain’s economy ‘has not been worth the lives saved’, study claims
- Lockdown ‘has not been worth the lives saved in economic terms’, study says
- NHS formula says damage is £70billion greater than value of years of life saved
- A study urges the Government to ditch blanket lockdown policies
The spiralling cost of lockdown has not been worth the lives saved in stark economic terms, a leading economist has warned.
The damage to the economy is an astonishing £70billion greater than the value of the years of life saved, when applying an NHS formula.
The study by former Bank of England policymaker David Miles, with co-authors Mike Stedman and Adrian Heald, urges the Government to ditch blanket lockdown policies designed to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
They claim that the losses caused by continuing with strict restrictions on economic activity – such as social distancing restrictions which limit capacity in restaurants and pubs – outweigh the lives saved.
The spiralling cost of lockdown has not been worth the lives saved in stark economic terms, a leading economist has warned (pictured: Boris Johnson visits families at RAF Lossiemouth, Moray, July 23)
Lockdown measures should now be focused only on those people who are most at risk, the report adds.
Even by the most conservative estimates, the study’s authors argue, lockdown has cost at least £200billion.
This is ignoring further losses caused by lower economic output in successive years, the disruption to education and vital non-Covid medical procedures being delayed. By contrast the ‘value’ of lives saved is a comparatively small £132billion, the study claims.
It calculates that 440,000 lives have been saved by lockdown and the average person who has died from Covid-19 would have lived for another ten years, according to life expectancies.
So lockdown saved 4.4million quality years of life – each valued at £30,000 by NHS guidelines – that the pandemic would otherwise have erased.
This means the value of the years of life saved is £132billion, according to the study.
But public sector debt is at nearly £2trillion, ballooning larger than the size of the economy in May for the first time in more than 50 years.
The authors will argue that although lockdown was effective in slowing the rate of infection and deaths from Covid-19, it is ‘very far from clear’ whether tight restrictions should have been kept in place until the end of June, given the economic cost.
The study will be published next Wednesday by the National Institute of Economic and Social Research.
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