The pandemic underlined the complex relationships between health, wealth and the economy.
It exacerbated existing health inequalities. It increased loneliness and isolation in older and clinically vulnerable people, delayed diagnosis of cancer and other chronic conditions, and caused young people to miss education and work opportunities.
With health inequalities leading to productivity losses of between £31-33 billion each year in England alone, there is a clear economic and business case for business to help to tackle health inequality. Investing in the health system is doubly beneficial: it not only saves lives, but it is also a crucial investment in the health of the economy. In the medium term, it stimulates urban regeneration, through the development of research infrastructure and has the potential to create quality jobs. And in the long term, good health means children being more able to access an education, increase their productivity, and enjoy longer life spans.
Health inequality is defined by the Government as avoidable and unfair differences in health status between people or communities. At Legal & General, we believe we have the power and the responsibility to support reduction in health inequalities and therefore invest in the economy.
Through our capital investment and investment management businesses, we deploy capital to support projects which will drive better health outcomes, while driving urban regeneration and job creation.
We work with medical and other healthcare experts to fund research into public health and care issues, using capital to fund research and development projects which will deliver improved health outcomes for various sections of society.
We take our 10,000 employees’ physical, mental and emotional health and wellbeing very seriously. Increased expectations of employers across more sectors will help drive better mental health outcomes for more employees, with the associated improvements to quality of life and productivity.
We’re very aware of the links between health, wealth and economic prosperity, and we’re focusing on better health outcomes by investing in healthcare technology and funding research, which has the added benefit of creating more, better-paying jobs.
Business has a key part to play in improving social conditions that affect health and health equity. A society in which people can lead flourishing lives is a healthy society, literally and metaphorically.