The Gap Between the UK’s Rich and Poor

Updated: Jan 8

A devastating report by the Health Foundation has highlighted the increasing gap in the health of Britain’s richest and poorest. The study is a follow-up to the ‘Marmot Review’ published ten years ago and looks at progress made in health inequality over the last decade.

The findings are bleak - headlines include a decrease in female life expectancy in the most deprived areas of the UK and an increase in rates of child poverty.  There is a stark difference in life expectancy between rich and poor, with men and women in rich areas expecting to live for 7.5 and 5.4 years longer than those living in deprived areas, respectively.  The quality of life for women in deprived areas has dropped, as life expectancy has gone down by 0.3 years. 

The report also showed that 30% of children were living in poverty in 2017/18, an 8% rise since 2010. This figure rises even higher to 37% in London, where housing is much more expensive but there is little difference in the assistance available to families in need.  Children who grow up in poverty are likely to experience long-term negative impacts such as inferior health and emotional development due to their upbringing.

In further bad news, another report says that the health of children in Britain is worsening and risks falling behind other European countries. The Daily Mail analyses the State of Child Health 2020 report in detail, but headline figures show a rise in childhood obesity, decrease in vaccination coverage and an increase in child mortality rates. 

These statistics are even more shocking considering that the UK has the fifth largest economy in the world.

There is a clear read-across between the two recent reports, which both highlight that the widening gap in heath inequality in the UK is a serious problem.  People born into or living in low income areas risk a worse start to life, poor health and are dying younger than those in wealthy areas.  

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