Study: Spending Cuts Can Increase Deaths

LONDON, June 26 (UPI) — Levels of social spending in Europe are strongly linked with risks of death from heart attacks and alcohol-induced illness, British researchers say.

David Stuckler of the University of Oxford and his colleagues say there is currently a major debate in European countries about the potential economic impacts of radical budget cuts.

Stuckler and his team evaluated data on social welfare spending — support for people with disabilities, programs supporting children, helping the unemployed find jobs — collected by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development from 15 European countries from 1980 to 2005.

The study, published in the British Medical Journal, found that when social spending was high, mortality rates fell, but when social spending was low, mortality rates rose substantially.

Using the mathematical models, the researchers estimated that for each $104 reduction in social welfare spending per person, alcohol-related deaths would increase by about 2.8 percent and cardiovascular mortality by 1.2 percent.

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