London, 11 November 2020. It is now shockingly clear that Health Equals Wealth. Business for Health (B4H) is being launched to promote good business practice, innovation and investment to help the UK be healthier, and has the support of cross-party political leaders, third sector and the broader business community.
Health as we age
Economic recovery, jobs, growth and business prosperity depend on a healthy nation. The Covid-19 pandemic has reinforced the urgent need to address health inequalities and highlighted how our health as we age impacts our resilience.
The recommendation for B4H to promote 5 extra years of healthy life expectancy while minimising health inequalities (‘HLE +5’) was put forward in The Health of the Nation Strategy published in February 2020, under the guidance of Lord Geoffrey Filkin, by the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Longevity, chaired by Rt Hon Damian Green MP.
Longevity and Business for Health
Business helped formulate that strategy and highlighted the important role socially responsible employers, purchasers, investors and innovators can play in promoting better public health and resilience.
Funding Business for Health
Phoenix Group, Legal & General and AXA Health are among initial funders of B4H, and over 100 organisations have signed up to the Register of Interest. B4H, a non-profit CIC (Community Interest Company), will develop a Business Index as its first project to measure and incentivise positive contributions by business to societal health, as part of wider plans to promote preventative health, share best practice and facilitate research for improved population health. The working group to develop the Index will be cross-sectoral and will encourage smaller as well as larger businesses to be represented.
Supporting a healthier nation
John Godfrey, Legal & General’s corporate affairs director and former Downing Street policy director chaired the Longevity APPG’s business workstream and is board chair and a founding director of the new organisation. He comments: “It is in businesses’ interests to support a healthier population. At its simplest, a healthier workforce is more productive – physical and mental health problems are expensive for employers. But for almost every sector, achieving better population health creates opportunities and drives economic activity. This was true before the pandemic and has now been sadly demonstrated beyond doubt.”
Business for Health launches during Longevity Week
Business for Health launches during Longevity Week and has government support from Government.
Secretary of State for Health Matt Hancock says: “I am delighted that Business for Health is being formed – as employers, investors and innovators, business will make vital contributions to reduce future pandemic risks through prevention, improve healthy life expectancy and build economic resilience in communities across our nation. If this pandemic has taught us anything it’s that our health and prosperity are completely interlinked. I look forward to working with them in the future.”
The Business for Health coalition
B4H is a coalition of socially responsible employers, purchasers, investors and innovators, and was formally registered on 28 September 2020 (company number 12907565). Its mission is: ‘to enhance the health and economic resilience of the UK, catalysing and facilitating business contributions to reduce health inequalities and add five years to healthy life expectancy’.
B4H is supported with funding from Legal & General, Phoenix Group, AXA Health, UK Research & Innovation, Centre for Ageing Better and Health Foundation. The founding directors are John Godfrey and Tina Woods.
The Executive Board comprises:
- Mary Bright, Head of Social Affairs, Phoenix Group
- Andy McClure, Marketing & Proposition Director, AXA Health
- George MacGinnis, Challenge Director, Healthy Ageing, UK Research and Innovation
- Anna Dixon, Chief Executive, Centre for Ageing Better
- John Godfrey, Corporate Affairs Director, Legal & General
- Tina Woods, acting Chief Executive, Business for Health
B4H is seen as valuable by two related government initiatives – the UK Longevity Council and the Government’s Ageing Society Grand Challenge with its £300m investment fund to maximise business contributions to HLE+5.
The UK Longevity Council was set up to advise on how best to use innovations in technology, products and services to improve the lives of our ageing population and ensure that people across the UK enjoy an extra five years of healthy and independent living by 2035, whilst narrowing the gap between the experience of the richest and the poorest.
Bottom line investment in a healthier nation
UK Research and Innovation also works to support the goal of HLE+5 and has an £300m investment fund to do so, including £98 million specifically for healthy ageing. It too supports the foundation of the Business Coalition for a Healthier Nation.
This news release and information was provided by BusinessForHealth.org