THE human cost of Westminsters “economic recklessness” has been revealed in a new report which warns it will cause almost as sharp a rise in premature deaths as the Covid pandemic.

A study by researchers at Public Health Scotland and the University of Glasgow found that the impact of the rising cost of living on incomes will result in up to 6.4% more people dying before the age of 75 – an 30 extra deaths per 100,000 people – even with support for energy costs.

The report, published in the journal BMJ Public Health, said that compares with an increase in premature mortality of 7.4% in Scotland between 2019 and 2022, which has been largely attributed to deaths from Covid-19.

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It warned overall life expectancy could also decrease by nearly 1% – and the potential impacts of inflation and reduced real incomes are likely to be “large and negative”, with “marked inequalities” in how these are experienced.

The report found that “unmitigated” price inflation was 14.9% for those with the highest incomes – but it rose to 22.9% for those with the least incomes.

While UK Government policies partially mitigated impacts of the rising cost of living on real incomes, it said households in the most deprived areas of Scotland would still be £1400 per year worse off.

“As a result, even with mitigating measures in place, premature mortality was estimated to increase by up to 6.4%, and life expectancy to decrease by up to 0.9%,” the researchers warned.

“Effects would be greater in more deprived areas, and health inequalities would increase as a result.”

SNP social justice spokesperson David Linden MP said: “This report lays bare the human cost of Westminster’s economic and social recklessness.

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“The consequences outlined in this report of the Tories’ mini budget, a hardline Brexit which Labour supports, and thirteen years of brutal austerity, should send shockwaves through Westminster.

“Westminster created the cost of living crisis but it is households and working families in Scotland who are paying the price.”

He added: “The Tories haven’t offered nearly enough support to help tackle soaring energy bills, food costs and mortgage payments. While all Labour can muster is an offer of the status quo and a continuation of the Tories cruel austerity agenda. That is simply not good enough.

“Westminster is broken – to fully repair our economy, and build a fairer country where families are better protected with the support they deserve, Scotland needs the full powers of independence.”