Factsheet: Inequality is bad for health

A combination of poverty, austerity and Covid caused 1m early deaths in England in
the decade 2011-2020
, related to living in socially disadvantaged areas, bad housing
and unemployment. This is health inequality. It is NOT down to ‘poor lifestyle choices’,
its causes are avoidable. Tackling them well or badly is a political choice. Justice and equity are founded on access to education, support for children in their early development, security of income and employment, sufficient food, safe and secure housing and amenities, social inclusion free from discrimination, an environment safe and protected from war, that should welcome refugees and migrants. All these are dangerously undermined by 14 years of austerity. The NHS safety net – access to free healthcare for all – is now threatened.



  • Equity of access to healthcare for all – including disadvantaged groups
  • Action to address social inequality, poverty, low pay and unsafe working conditions, poor housing, under-investment in children and young people, discrimination and racism, pollution, and climate change – the overarching causes of health inequality
  • Improved women’s health services and maternity care
  • Action to ensure disabled people have equity of access to healthcare

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