IEA Head of Public Policy Ryan Bourne appeared on BBC Radio Two discussing a recent report speculatively linking austerity measures by the government and a fall in life expectancy during the year 2012. Ryan argued that there is a need to look at the composition of austerity rather than austerity in absolute form when deciding whether it has led to more deaths. For instance, Ryan argued that a removal of pensioners benefits such as the winter fuel allowance and free TV licences from the richest will create savings that can be redistributed so that these benefits are targeted on the poorest.
Ryan noted the the government, despite austerity, is still borrowing in excess of £100 Billion and that further austerity is still required. For that reason, there is a need for government to introduce measures to ease the cost of living rather than further spending, which is only dealing with the symptoms of economic hardship. This can be done with measures such as removing the UK unilateral carbon price floor and the governments energy subsidisation programmes which have pushed up energy costs.
You can listen to the full programme here. Ryans segment begins at 1:16:30.