Published byREC

REC comments on new research on rise in sickness-related inactivity

Commenting on Resolution Foundation research finding Britain is in the midst of the longest sustained rise in sickness-related inactivity since the 1990s, Shazia Ejaz, REC’s Director of Campaigns and Research, said:

“One thing all parties are agreed on is the need for economic growth. They should also all be clear that an effective labour market is central to achieving that. Our own research suggests a continued failure to overcome labour shortages will cost the economy up to £39 billion every year - just short of two whole Elizabeth Lines – in less GDP and productivity. So, the inactivity problem needs to be addressed with urgency.

“ONS figures tell us that the NHS waiting lists are a big factor for why not enough people are well enough to work. Making sure the NHS can be effectively staffed to deliver is a big part of the solution to drive down waiting lists and get people well. A better partnership approach to staffing with agencies is a clear lever for improving things because we know NHS doctors and nurses want more flexibility in how they work.

“However, the issue of flexible working goes further than this. Agency working is central to offering older workers a flexible way back into employment and for others including young people. It allows people to juggle health and other commitments such as caring responsibilities. This coupled with better infrastructure around transport, childcare and social care will all help tackle the inactivity challenge the UK faces. A comprehensive review of how to get the labour market working effectively should be at the heart of any growth plan and labour market experts such as recruiters are ready to do the work with government on this.”