I co-sponsored an Opposition Day motion on Health inequalities. This follows the release of the Marmot Review which stated that, for the first time in 100 years, life expectancy has flattened since 2010 overall and has declined for women in the poorest areas of England. The North/South health gap has increased with the largest decreases seen in most deprived 10% of neighbourhoods in the North East. The time people spend in poor health is also increasing for men and women in the most deprived areas of England.
It is clear that there is a link between austerity and growing health inequalities. While the Chancellor’s announcement of extra funding for the NHS in the Budget is welcome, I believe that the Government needs to go much further. The public health grant has seen a £850 million real terms reduction. Public health is essential to reducing the gap in health inequalities. The Health Foundation has calculated that an additional £3.2 billion a year is required to reverse the impact of Government cuts to the public health grant and ensure that it is re-allocated according to need. The Labour Party will continue to press the Government to invest in public health budgets.