This week I will be leading a Westminster Hall debate on a sudden and shocking 11% rise in mortality rates during the first weeks of 2018. As I’ve written for Parliament’s The House magazine:
There are already too many areas in our country where healthy life expectancy is unacceptably low. The average baby girl born in Manchester between 2014 and 2016 will live to be 79, but only until age 54 will she be healthy. That’s nearly a third of her life spent grappling with health issues that will not affect the average woman born on Orkney until she is 71.
Regional and class inequalities in health are sadly nothing new, but a more distinct and recent change is taking place. In my city of Sheffield, the healthy life expectancy for women – a troubling 57.5 – has dropped by four years since 2009-11, while healthy life expectancy across the country has held basically steady.
Health inequalities have always plagued Sheffield; in my maiden speech I talked about the difference in life chances and life expectancy between people growing up in the east and west of my constituency. You can expect to live as much as ten years longer depending on where you’re born in Sheffield.
And our city has suffered much over the last decade, first from the financial crisis, when our economy shrunk by almost as much as Greece, largely overlooked in national coverage. Since then we have been subject to vast cuts to the council’s funding which have seen public services pared back to levels which would have been unrecognisable in 2008.
This is putting strain on services right across the spectrum as the safety net falls away. Our police deal with ever more non-crime cases, while crime rises and the amount they can do with their funding falls year on year.
You can find the full article on PoliticsHome.