Health inequalities are chilling and it needs more action

07 Feb 2013
Diane Abbott MP, Labour’s shadow public health minister and MP for Hackney North and Stoke Newington said:

‘Health inequalities are chilling. We need to build a society where someone’s health and life chances are not determined by their social status at birth. But many of the health inequalities that Britain must face up to are stubborn, persistent and difficult to change.

‘Research has shown that a man living in Manchester is likely to die almost nine years before a man living in the Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea. Infant mortality amongst low skilled workers is almost twice that amongst professionals. And, for every stop on the Jubilee line between Westminster and Canning Town, life expectancy goes down by one year.

‘Some of the key determinants of health relate to a host of issues including employment, the welfare state and child development. There needs to be action across a number of areas of British life - including education, housing and transport.

‘So I fear that government policies overall are going to make health inequalities worse not better. Public sector cuts are going to hit the poorest areas of the country like the North and the inner city harder than anywhere else, because those areas rely most on public sector jobs.

‘Unemployment, with all its well known poor health outcomes, will hit already deprived areas. Jeremy Hunt’s NHS policies, including the health premium, will mean less money for the poorest areas in practise.’


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