In Brief

UK’s richest boys to outlive poorest by a decade

Life expectancy gap widening as inequality worsens

The most advantaged boys in the UK will outlive the poorest by almost a decade, official figures show, “as inequalities in life expectancy widen”, says The Independent.

New data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) says life expectancy at birth among the most deprived males in England is 73.9 years, compared with 83.3 years among the wealthiest. The gap has risen by nearly five months in the past three years.

While the life expectancy gap among women is smaller, inequality actually grew by more than males, from 7 to 7.4 years.

The ONS figures back up a report published last autumn by the Department of Health, which found that people living in the most deprived areas run a greater risk of premature death, seeing a child die soon after it is born or ending up in hospital as an emergency case.

Theresa May has described differing health outcomes for the rich and poor as a “burning injustice”, yet her Government, and the coalition government she served in as home secretary, has overseen an increase in key areas of the gap after a narrowing over the previous decade.

David Buck, a senior fellow at the King’s Fund health think tank and a leading expert in public health and health inequalities, described the health department figures as “shocking”.

“For the poorest in the country this is a double whammy of early death and poorer health while still alive,” he told The Observer. “They are going to die younger and are facing 20 more years of life spent in poor health relative to the richest. This should be a wake-up call to ministers.”

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