Record levels of long-term sickness

Figures from the Office for National Statistics show that 2.55 million people in the UK are not working owing to long-term sickness. Since the Covid-19 pandemic, there are more than 400,000 additional people outside the labour market because of ill health. There has been a noticeable increase in conditions related to mental ill health, especially in younger people, and an increase in musculoskeletal problems, possibly owing to home working.

The figures also revealed that public sector pay is growing at the fastest pace for around 20 years, while the squeeze on pay remains elsewhere as wage increases fail to keep up with rising prices.

Sources: ONS: Labour market overview, UK: May 2023 (16 May 2023), Record numbers not working due to ill health,, 16 May 2023.