Dead Men Left

Friday, April 29, 2005

"Thousands die early as poverty gap widens": another New Labour triumph

Call it decadence, if you like, but I've got nothing more to add to this. It's not just born poor, die poor. It's born poor, die early:

Thousands of people are dying prematurely in deprived inner cities as the gap between rich and poor in Britain widens. The difference in life expectancy between the poorest and most affluent parts of the country has grown to 11 years and is now more pronounced than in Victorian times, researchers say...

Figures out today show the trends so far are moving in the wrong direction. The increase in life expectancy in the most advantaged areas is outrunning that in the poorest areas. Among men, the gap between the local authority with the lowest life expectancy - Glasgow - and the one with the highest - East Dorset - rose from 10 to 11 years over the period from 1995-97 to 2001-03. Among women, the gap increased from 7.8 to 8.4 years. George Davey Smith, professor of clinical epidemiology at the University of Bristol, who led the study, said in the British Medical Journal: "In a relatively short period, that is a substantial increase."

The health gap remained stable between 1992-94 and 1995-97 but has been widening since. It is now wider than it has been since Victorian times, the authors say, and reflects increases in the gap between rich and poor.