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Cost of Living crisis impact could be bigger than Covid, warns council leader

today13 September 2022 1

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The potential impacts and consequences of the cost of living crisis could be bigger than coronavirus, Derby’s leading councillor has warned. Derby City Council leader Chris Poulter spoke of his deep concern as the full health implications of the financial crisis were laid bare at a health meeting.

Council officers in Derby have been looking closely at how the cost of living crisis could impact on all parts of Derby and its residents both financially and in relation to their health and well-being. Tens of thousands in Derby are expected to pay significantly higher energy bills in the coming months, as well as higher prices for food and petrol with UK inflation as high as over 10 per cent.

At a recent Derby City Council health meeting, Dr Robyn Dewis, the city council’s public director for health, delivered a report detailing the potential health impacts that could rise from thousands struggling to pay their bills. The report showed that many adults in Derby could suffer from the effects of fuel poverty this winter. This is when a household is unable to afford to heat their home to an adequate temperature.

The effects from fuel poverty include increased blood pressure or clotting which can lead to heart attacks and strokes. It can also decrease resistance to infection potentially leading to reduced dexterity. There are also concerns fuel poverty can lead to an increase in falls and that poor nutrition levels could make people weaker.

Dr Dewis said there were also concerns for children over the coming months. She said: “Thinking about fuel poverty and cold weather, for children there is known to be an increased risk of exacerbation of respiratory conditions. But there is also an impact on educational attainment. Children in cold homes are much less likely to do well at school during the day.”

Councillor Poulter said he was very worried about the health impacts and said it was vital Derby’s response to the cost of living crisis was done properly: “From my perspective, if this (cost of living) is not addressed properly it could be bigger than the effects of Covid. The health effects are potentially massive and this is something we all need to think about collectively.

“But from my point of view – and it sounds bizarre – I think we are in a little better position to deal with this sort of crisis now following Covid. I am aware of arrangements for support with health, advice and finance spreading out across the city.”

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