In a recent report conducted by the 2020 Marmot review it reveals that life expectancy in England is stalling, while at the same time health inequalities are widening.
According to the review in 2010 and 2018 the gap in life expectancy between those living in the least deprived areas and the most deprived areas has increased drastically. The gap increasing from 9.1 to 9.5 years and for women from 6.8 to 7.7 years.
The length of time people spend in poor health has also increased across England since 2010, going from 15.8 to 16.2 years for men, and 18.7 to 19.4 years for women.
These figures also hide an even steeper social gradient than that seen for life expectancy. Those that live in more deprived areas spend a larger proportion of their already shorter lives in poor health.
The covid-19 pandemic has also enlarged the inequalities between the poorest and the better off.
According to the Marmot review the age standardised mortality rate associated with covid-19 in the most deprived areas in July 2020 was 3.1 deaths. This is more than double the rate in the least deprived areas.
The review shows that between 2010 and 2020 that the following is vital for closing the gap between the better off and the poorest.
Every child regardless of income deserves the best best start in life, a good education and the option to undertake lifelong learning opportunities that will enable adults to widen their capabilities and employment opportunities.
It is also important that people have good safe employment with good working conditions. Working conditions have also worsened thanks to the gig economy, agency work and unstable working hours. All these makes achieving a good standard of living virtually impossible to achieve .
Instead both disabled and none disabled people are reliant upon Universal credit and disability benefits which pushes a person into a never ending spiral of debt and conditionality that they can never totally satisfy.
Despite the government continually announcing that their policies are the best and that Universal Credit supposedly tackles financial inequality there has been little if any effective policies to tackle this.
Tackling inequalities requires more than just empty words and promises said in parliament. Those that make the policies that people rely upon need to work at local and national levels whilst engaging and communicating with the the people that are affected by their policies.
Disabled people should have benefit increases to enable a better quality of life as should everyone else that finds themselves reliant upon disability benefits, Universal Credit and legacy benefits. Whilst household bills and food expenses continue to rise benefit levels don’t rise to tackle this.
Health inequalities can’t be dealt with until people have the means to financially improve their quality of life. It’s impossible to eat healthier when dependent upon foodbanks for food, making the option to eat and heat almost impossible to do.
The government has the opportunity to change the huge and ever growing health inequalities in England as described in the Marmot 2020 review. The government could reverse this inequality if they wished to do so.
The government need to look at the policies that continue to enlarge the gap between the poor and the better off. The Universal Credit system needs to be reviewed and policies changed and monies increased to enable a better quality of life.
Disabled people shouldn’t be constantly harassed by a system that continually punishes them and also deprives them of the monies that they desperately need to survive.
For the country to be able to fully recover from the Covid 19 pandemic it is of the upmost importance that the government starts to tackle and reduce the health inequalities. They should implement policies to reflect this and take away discriminatory policies that currently target disabled people.
Without this we might never recover completely post covid-19 and health inequalities will continue to widen.
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