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What is the best way to tackle the UK's health inequality gap?

13:07 UK time, Friday, 23 July 2010

The health inequality gap in Britain is greater than it was during the post-World War I slump and the Great Depression according to a study published in the British Medical Journal. Are health and wealth directly linked?

The UK spent the 1920s attempting to recover from WWI and then endured the Great Depression of the following decade. From that period onwards health inequalities started narrowing until the 1970s.

Since then, the gap has continued to rise steadily. It also means that a pledge by the previous Labour government to reduce the inequality gap between 1997 and 2010 is almost certain to be missed.

Do you agree with the findings of the research? What can be done to tackle health inequalities? Is there anything that we can learn from the Great Depression?

Read more of your comments.

Comments

Page 1 of 4

  • Comment number 1.

    'Are health and wealth directly linked?'
    Not necessarily; it also depends on what sort of diet and exercise régime one has. Anyone daft enough to sit on their sofa, shovelling calorie-laden fast 'food' into themselves is more likely to be heading for an early grave, no matter how much money they have.

  • Comment number 2.

    According to the statistics we are told that the ratio of deaths before 65 in the richest to poorest areas has increased from 1:1.85/1:1.9 to 1:1.2. We are told that is a significant increase.

    However, we are also told that one of reasons we have an increase in pensioners is because since 1949 the number of people living to 65 has increased from 65% to 95%.

    So although the gap between rich and poor has widened by 10-15% the actual number of people reaching 65 has risen by 30%.

    That there is a gap is to my mind a law of nature. Wealthy people eat better, have a better standard of living and take more care of themselves.

    Everytime we try an initiative to improve the lifestyle of the poor, tackling obesity we are critical of the so called 'nanny-state'.

    What I believe is certain is that today there is no reason why the poor should suffer as they did in the past. A good healthy diet is affordable by all, so is basic good housing.

    We are improving the health of the nation year on year, lets just keep on doing what we have been doing and stop these endless debates the moment someone comes up with another bunch of irrelevant statistics.


  • Comment number 3.

    Well do you expect after 13 years of Labour and a rising population?

  • Comment number 4.

    Why is their a health equality gap?
    Perhaps middle and high income groups take notice of the advice of dcotors and health specialists which poorer groups don't? It can't be money because poorer groups seem to be able to afford to smoke and drink. I can't and I earn far more than the average wage. Nope. For me it is taking on board the advice of the medical professionals.

  • Comment number 5.

    "What can be done to tackle health inequalities?"

    Individuals taking responsibility for their own health. I grew up on one of the most deprived council estates in Glasgow and yet despite that and despite a history of mental illness, today at age 30 I am a vegetarian who has never drank, smoked, taken drugs or enganged in casual sex - because those were all choices that I made for the good of my own health. Don't come to me with the whole "they don't know any better" nonsense, it won't wash.

  • Comment number 6.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 7.

    I would suggest that health and intelligence is a more indicative comparison rather than health and wealth. A lot of health problems come from poor eating habits and smoking.

  • Comment number 8.

    Is there any correlation between alcohol, smoking, lack of exercise and over-eating and dull, unimaginative lives led by a sizeable portion of our population?

    As or Slave Labour and its promises, DO pigs actually fly kites? The Labour Party long ago lost any drive and initiative - it was too full of itself, couldn't see the wood for the trees and poured billions straight down the drain. Its ethos was "rights, rights, rights" - and damn those who have to pay for the right of people to drink alcohol, smoke, live rent-free, over-eat and do nothing constructive..

  • Comment number 9.

    I suspect that health and wealth is related to some degree. You only have to look at the price of some of the healthy foods compared to some of the cheaper foods we have in the supermarkets.

    If the government were to subsidise fruit and vegetables (or any foods that could be graded as 'healthy') by way of vouchers to those on low incomes then that could go some way to ensuring that, at least, people are buying more healthily.

    You only have to look at, say, a spread designed to reduce cholesterol compared to a cheap margarine to see what I mean.

  • Comment number 10.

    In the 20s the poor did not eat the rubbish they eat today. They also did not spend their lives moving from in front of the tv to the pub to spend their benefits. If health inequality is worse 99% is self inflicted.

  • Comment number 11.

    Since the news story has no analysis, and fails to mention the causes of death which comprise the difference, it's not possible to give an informed opinion to the question.

    It's about time the BBC started reporting properly, instead of just publishing poorly-researched headline-grabbing articles.

  • Comment number 12.

    Is the aim to reduce equality or increase life expectancy. If the first option then increasing deaths for 65 of the wealthiest 10% in the most acceptable manner would be the easiest option. I don't really think that is what we are aiming for though.

    The stats in your article don't seem to mention what the changes in life expectancy are though.

  • Comment number 13.

    Eliminate the post code lottery. It is supposed to be National Health Service.

  • Comment number 14.

    We already have malnutrition in some inner cities. The single poor live of disgracefully low benefits which mean they cannot afford a nutritious diet. A scandal in a so called advanced nation like Britain. This brutal class system being made even more brutal by the naked evil of the Tory press under the privilaged and mega wealthy David Cameron will divide things even more. I can see greater health inequality and we are living on a mental health explosion.

    As I Christain I condemn utterly the social policies of the last 3 decades that have handed billions to the already rich while removing the safte Net for the Poor of that which they should have. All recent reports suggest the poverty line is £90 per week, in thier shame New Labour did nothing and the Tories plan even more suffering for the poor who except for a minority are victims of free market dictate in social affairs.

    We need a significant redistribution of wealth from Rich to poor to cure things. For us on the Christian left we utterly condemn the faceless capitalism being 'blessed' by wicked elements in the so called Christain right whose moral values are suspect.

    BRITIAN IS NO LONGER A CHRISTAIN COUNTRY. FACELESS CAPITALISM HAS ALL BUT DESTROYED IT.

    Its time we returned to State intervention and Job creation, on the protestant ethic of a 'fair days work for a fair day's pay'

    End Wealth accumulation and impose the Robin hood tax now. In a Democracy there is no place for rightwing social policies designed to widen the gulf between Rich and poor. Thatcher, Blair and Cameron and the Christain right will answer to God for what they have done to the poor. I for one would not want to be them on my death bed.

    FREE MARKET CAPITALISM IS PART OF THE ANTICHRIST.

  • Comment number 15.

    Rich and poor have access to the same health system (NHS). Ergo I don't think health and wealth are directly linked. There might be a tiny percentage whose health is affected by poor living conditions. But what is directly linked with each other is health and live style. It might be not PC to say but on average the number of alcoholics, smokers, fast-food addicts will be higher in the lower class. This drives the health inequality gap.

  • Comment number 16.

    "From that period onwards health inequalities started narrowing until the 1970s."

    And then margret thatcher and the tories took over and the inequallties started rising again.

    Things are going to get even worse with the tories back in charge.

  • Comment number 17.

    The issue is not inequality. The issues are quality and efficiency. Far too much is being spent on non-medical staff and time-consuming processes. They need to be swapped for better doctors, better treatments, better access to up to date technology.

    The answer is to improve the NHS for everyone and get more out of the resource that consumes billions pa. If you start by thinking about how to even things out, you absolutely will end up doing the wrong things and making the best worse.

  • Comment number 18.

    Guess what? Another 'bash the middle class' story.
    Here's a radical idea.
    Let's do nothing.
    Let's make it an individual's responsibility.
    OK so not everyone can afford health clubs and personal trainers (actually very few can) but everyome can exercise (free) and eat healthy food (often cheaper than processed food).
    The link between health and wealth is not uniform of course but as a generality I suggest many people who are doing above average do so because of personal values such as self-discipline, committment, tenacity, self-motivation. The same values exhibited in the furtherance of their careers are applied to their own health. GOOD LUCK TO THEM!
    I get really fed up of the constant digs at people who through their own efforts are doing well for themselves and their families and are constatntly treated like devils incarnate by the intelligensia, NuLabour, and the BBC.

  • Comment number 19.

    “The UK spent the 1920s attempting to recover from WWI and then endured the Great Depression of the following decade. From that period onwards health inequalities started narrowing until the 1970s.
    Since then, the gap has continued to rise steadily. It also means that a pledge by the previous Labour government to reduce the inequality gap between 1997 and 2010 is almost certain to be missed.”



    This comes as no surprise to me. Like every other aspect of life in the UK the inequalities in health are down to the single fact that everything is now dominated by the ability of the individual to pay.
    The Thatcher policies of everyman for himself continued by the Blair/Brown double act have only served to create a nation of Haves and have-nots, I can see no change for the present coalition

    While we continue to put money first and people at the bottom of the list it will continue.

    We have in effect had the same government in all but name for the past 30 odd years, the policies are the same, the consequences of those policies are the same, and the only difference is the name


  • Comment number 20.

    IMHO it is more of a culture gap. I know a number of people on minimum wage and some get an allotment, eat healthy but simple and take exercise. These individuals are often swimming against peer pressure. On some of our more troubled housing estates there is a beer fags and TV culture. More cash just means bigger TVs more beer and more fags.

    Cash will not solve this problem. The motivated and engaged move away from that sub culture and sometimes earn more cash as a result. The key here is motivated and engaged not the wad of cash.

  • Comment number 21.

    Teh irony of the health gap is one of supply. In the 1930's there was a lack of certain foods which the body needed to maintain basic health. In the 2000's there is an ample supply of the wrong food.
    Education is no use in school if the child goes home to a poor, fat filled, diet.
    The stupid women of Yorkshire who reacted to a school catering for pupils with a healthy diet, by buying chips and shoving them through the school railngs, is a prime example of stupidity fighting aginst ,political correctness'

  • Comment number 22.

    · 1. At 1:33pm on 23 Jul 2010, Neil Probert wrote:
    'Are health and wealth directly linked?'

    ###################

    Of course they are


  • Comment number 23.

    The only way to keep your health is to eat what you don't want, drink what you don't like, and do what you'd rather not.

  • Comment number 24.

    · 4. At 1:39pm on 23 Jul 2010, Dr Prod wrote:
    Why is their a health equality gap?
    Perhaps middle and high income groups take notice of the advice of dcotors and health specialists which poorer groups don't? It can't be money because poorer groups seem to be able to afford to smoke and drink. I can't and I earn far more than the average wage. Nope. For me it is taking on board the advice of the medical professionals.

    ################################

    Quite a sweeping statement

    People from higher incomes do not smoke or drink

    People from lower incomes drink and smoke

    As you say you earn far more that the average wage but that of course has nothing at all to do with your health?


  • Comment number 25.

    Do you agree with the findings of the research?

    If the research was done properly (and without access to a lot more information I cannot judge this) then its results stand. Other research may or may not support the findings published.

    What can be done to tackle health inequalities?

    [1] Educate people properly about how their body works; how to stay healthy; how to recognise symptoms that require a visit to the GP and those which are self-limiting

    [2] Educate parents about how to instill a healthy lifestyle into their children

    [3] Give people very strong incentives to take responsibility for their health and very strong disincentives to engage in a lifestyle which costs the NHS a lot of money


    Is there anything that we can learn from the Great Depression?

    Yes

  • Comment number 26.

    Why the Great Depression? if you can afford to pay for it you get better treatment the drug companies try their wears out of the poor and old before they sell them to the rich. We have a different life style now not so many manuel jobs and different foods more processed foods we work longer hours and weekends so weeks run into each other. We buy from supermarkets because we work. There is few local shops I myself could not get around without a car as I have no bank, post office butcher or any of the local shops were when I was a child we met people we knew and walked from shop to shop now we have nothing and we pay for it as well.

  • Comment number 27.

    3. At 1:35pm on 23 Jul 2010, Toad In The Hole wrote:
    Well do you expect after 13 years of Labour and a rising population?

    If the "socialist" party can't improve the difference between rich and poor what is Cameron going to do better? The NHS did not do well under Thatcher. At least Blair made the hospitals report their infection rates, you get to see an Oncologist in 14 days if you find a lump and you get seen in A+E in 4 hours.

    However I personally think these obsession with the 'wealth gap' is ridiculous. What matters is that I earn enough to keep a roof over my head, eat healthily, be warm in winter and have a little left over to have some fun with. The fact that someone is earning ten or twenty or 100 times what I do DOES NOT MATTER.

  • Comment number 28.

    If there is a health equality gap between rich and poor can someone tell me why not one hereditary peer in the house of lords ever reached 100 years old?



  • Comment number 29.

    14. At 2:10pm on 23 Jul 2010, Norman Brooke wrote:
    We already have malnutrition in some inner cities. The single poor live of disgracefully low benefits which mean they cannot afford a nutritious diet. A scandal in a so called advanced nation like Britain

    ..........................................................

    They should be given food stamps not cash, Nutritious food is no more expensive than junk give them stamps that cannot be exchanged for cigarettes and booze and you will soon see an improvement in health.

  • Comment number 30.

    · 15. At 2:11pm on 23 Jul 2010, Frenske wrote:
    Rich and poor have access to the same health system (NHS). Ergo I don't think health and wealth are directly linked. There might be a tiny percentage whose health is affected by poor living conditions. But what is directly linked with each other is health and live style. It might be not PC to say but on average the number of alcoholics, smokers, fast-food addicts will be higher in the lower class. This drives the health inequality gap.

    ##########################

    How do you define the “Lower Class” could it possible be by their income?

  • Comment number 31.

    · 17. At 2:19pm on 23 Jul 2010, David Windsor wrote:
    The issue is not inequality. The issues are quality and efficiency. Far too much is being spent on non-medical staff and time-consuming processes. They need to be swapped for better doctors, better treatments, better access to up to date technology.

    ####################

    By the time people get to the NHS it is to late


  • Comment number 32.

    Health and wealth might well be indirectly linked, but the more direct link, in my view, is between health and knowledge (education). As the Second World War demonstrated, people can remain fit and healthy on the most basic and least expensive of diets provided they have been taught how to do so. This teaching used to be handed down by parents, especially mothers, to their children, but over the years, as the Socialist State assumed greater and greater powers, previously the remit of families, things have gone off the rails and we have become a relatively overfed but undernourished nation. The Supermarket State may well be convenient, but it is not contributing to our health in the way our grandparents, who grew or made so much of their own, would have appreciated.

  • Comment number 33.

    3. At 1:35pm on 23 Jul 2010, Toad In The Hole wrote:
    Well do you expect after 13 years of Labour and a rising population?


    You were obviously so desperate to make a political point that you missed the bit about these inequalities having increased since the 1970s. Perhaps you might like to consider a different opinion.

  • Comment number 34.

    Given the poorer sections of society are:
    1) much more likely to smoke
    2) much more likely to eat high fat, sugar and salt in their diet
    3) likely to exercise less
    4) likely to have more physically demanding work

    it should not surprise anyone that such health inequalities exist. In the wealthier sections of society most of these factors have improved; in the poorer sections they are more pronounced.

  • Comment number 35.

    What I find quite astonishing is the number of people here denying that there is a link between health and wealth. Talk about sticking your fingers in your ears and chanting "I can't hear you". This piece of research isn't anything new. We've had dozens of pieces of research over the last few years all pointing to the same conclusion.
    There is a strong correlation between wealth inequality and health inequality. That's not an opinion - it's a statistically observable fact.
    Now, we can blame the poor for this ("it's all smoking, drinking and diet, you know"), or we can ask ourselves why the habits which are, rather stereotypically, associated with poverty should be related to wealth inequality at all. We could ask ourselves why the differences in health and life expectancy narrowed between 1939 and 1950. Did poorer people amazingly become smarter? Did the, for some unknown reason, smoke less? Or was it to do with the fact that wealth inequality fell during that period?

  • Comment number 36.

    · 28. At 2:43pm on 23 Jul 2010, JohnH wrote:
    If there is a health equality gap between rich and poor can someone tell me why not one hereditary peer in the house of lords ever reached 100 years old?


    ###################

    Perhaps its because out of a population of 65,000,000 only 10,000 reach 100 years of age.

    You work out the odds

  • Comment number 37.

    Before you moderate this have a look at


    · 18. At 2:22pm on 23 Jul 2010, jacko wrote:
    This comment is awaiting moderation. Explain.
    · 19. At 2:23pm on 23 Jul 2010, you wrote:
    This comment is awaiting moderation. Explain.
    · 20. At 2:23pm on 23 Jul 2010, Robert wrote:
    This comment is awaiting moderation. Explain.
    · 21. At 2:25pm on 23 Jul 2010, Brian Brown wrote:
    This comment is awaiting moderation. Explain.


  • Comment number 38.

    Ian at 6. Serves you right, leave the wasps alone! I have a nest outside my door of each my home and work and they don't bother me, they keep other bugs at bay by feeding them to their larvae.

    Norman at 14. Well said apart from the 'christian' bit. If you substituted christian for 'human' your rant would be perfect...ish.{IMHO}



  • Comment number 39.

    9. At 2:01pm on 23 Jul 2010, TILLY wrote:
    I suspect that health and wealth is related to some degree. You only have to look at the price of some of the healthy foods compared to some of the cheaper foods we have in the supermarkets.

    If the government were to subsidise fruit and vegetables (or any foods that could be graded as 'healthy') by way of vouchers to those on low incomes then that could go some way to ensuring that, at least, people are buying more healthily.

    You only have to look at, say, a spread designed to reduce cholesterol compared to a cheap margarine to see what I mean."


    Firstly fresh fruit and vegetables are not expensive. You can buy sacks of apples and oranges for less than the price of a Big Mac or a frozen pizza. Last night I cooked a red onion, garlic, green yellow and red peppers (from a value bag that cost under £1 for 6 peppers), black pepper, chilli and dried herbs plus canned tomatoes, olive oil and dried pasta. Cost £1 per person. That doesn't need 'state subsidy' (ie my taxes paying for other peoples food).

    Likewise cholestrol reducing margarines are a scam. They reduce cholestrol as part of a very carefully structured diet. They're not a magic cure. The idea that I should pay a subsidy for those is outrageous. I might as well demand the govt cut the cost of red wine as its good for the heart!

  • Comment number 40.

    28. At 2:43pm on 23 Jul 2010, JohnH wrote:
    If there is a health equality gap between rich and poor can someone tell me why not one hereditary peer in the house of lords ever reached 100 years old?



    May I suggest the heavily subsidised bar in the house of Lords has some part to play? Mind you most hereditary peers aren't that rich, at least not compared to Russian Oligarchs. The upkeep on these big country estates are crippling.

  • Comment number 41.

    If you are poor your life expectancy will be lower than someone equal to you in every respect except for financial wealth. That has always been true. A repetitive job (if any), poor wage (or income), poor housing, poor prospects, poor self-esteem will all eat away to allow natural forces to take their toll.

    Wealth, more than any other factor, tends to offer markedly large increases in 'control' even in areas where it should not be able to do so. When jobs are reduced to 'number of widgets per hour' in the name of productivity all manner of quality disappears, and it is quality that yields job satisfaction, self esteem, improved life style, demeanour and attitude to others. That is why the wealthy want 'control', but do not wish to pass on the values required to get it to others. The cheap labour of emerging economies such as China will not be permanent since the low paid will soon see the injustices.

    So a nation that demonstrates a narrower gap between top and bottom is demonstrating that it wants better lifestyles for all. The opposite is that which pervades many modern capitalist societies where a broadening gap is seen as an achievement and not as a huge affront towards others less fortunate. The UK needs to change its attitude and fast.

  • Comment number 42.

    It would be nice if the poor were to get even half of the money that is spent in studying them.

  • Comment number 43.

    I really think it is all down to intelligence and education. I've been living in a mixed community in central London for many years. The more educated, or more intelligent, tend to eat their fruit and veg, know how to cook a meal from scratch, don't smoke or binge drink and take exercise. They often seem more aware of health issues and are more likely to try and " look after" themselves. The poorer, unemployed or not terribly bright people around here tend to live on junk food, smoke like chimneys and don't know how to cook properly. I realise I am making sweeping statements but that's how it seems to me!

  • Comment number 44.

    This is unsurprising and deeply disappointing. It doesn't matter who you are, and what brings you into any hospital?

    Part of my research and final dissertation related to the mantra of healthy choices of last Conservative administration - versus affordable/available choices?

    My research also included serious and life-threatening malnutrition of ALL patients recovering from surgical intervention and elder patient admission in spite of a battery of diet specialist departments on site that work for a PhD rather than any collaboration with any front-line department within that hospital that supported their research?

    In fact, the 'turf protection' cycle of all dietitians during the 1980s appears still appears to be 'inclusive' while 'outside' agencies are funded by employment of the same cycle that fails all patients?

    Disappointing how 'proven' basic nutritional research is constantly recycled over so many decades, yet rarely instigated in hospitals and residential/care/nursing homes since the 1970s?

    Watch your back folks - if you are in your 30s/40s?

  • Comment number 45.

    · 27. At 2:37pm on 23 Jul 2010, Peter_Sym wrote:
    However I personally think these obsession with the 'wealth gap' is ridiculous. What matters is that I earn enough to keep a roof over my head, eat healthily, be warm in winter and have a little left over to have some fun with. The fact that someone is earning ten or twenty or 100 times what I do DOES NOT MATTER.

    ######################

    And how much does it cost to “keep a roof over my head, eat healthily, be warm in winter and have a little left over to have some fun with.”


  • Comment number 46.

    The health gap between rich and poor HAS widened, but this needs to be viewed in context. The life expectancy of poor people in Britain has risen steadily since the 1930s, it's just the life expectancy of the rich has risen more quickly.

    Never let the facts get in the way of a good story!

  • Comment number 47.

    To answer the last line of the question:- Can we learn from the Great Depression? It seems that the new Government has been studying it closely in an effort to replicate it. SO far they have repeated the same mistakes that in the 1930's turned a small blip in the economy into a serious 'double dip' recession.
    AS for Public health, the idea of having Doctors control finances is like having Policemen control the courts, tempting but ultimately dangerous.

  • Comment number 48.

    Love the way some are blaming the labour party for this.

    In case you hadn't noticed they are the ones who tried to implement Jamie Oliver's school meal plans and were shouted down by parents accusing them of the nanny state.

    If people will not listen to health advice there is not a lot else we can do.

    The only other issue is the paultry amount of benefits some people have to live off, I am not talking about the fraudsters I am talking about the legitimate claimants.

  • Comment number 49.

    · 34. At 3:05pm on 23 Jul 2010, Aristarchus of Samos wrote:
    Given the poorer sections of society are:

    1) much more likely to smoke ## Are They?

    2) much more likely to eat high fat, sugar and salt in their diet## Are They?

    3) likely to exercise less ## Are They?

    4) likely to have more physically demanding work ## Are They?

  • Comment number 50.

    There is a correlation, but I doubt it's the cause.

    Attitude to health is more likely the overriding factor.

  • Comment number 51.

    This is mostly just hype unfortunately for example smoking to name just one risk factor is twice as common in the less well off and they start also start at a earlier age. You can take a camel......
    http://info.cancerresearchuk.org/cancerstats/types/lung/smoking/

  • Comment number 52.

    Genocide - exterminate the poor, gap closed.

  • Comment number 53.

    The nation's health was at its best during the war years and those years post war when food rationing was in place. Wealth inequality was not a factor in nutrion ,and general food quality was better, more vegetables and fruit, less red meat,few processed food items.
    However despite the general improvement in housing, health and the reduction in hard manual labour in employment, it is still the case that the more affluent you are the longer you live.

  • Comment number 54.

    "today at age 30 I am a vegetarian who has never drank, smoked, taken drugs or enganged in casual sex"
    You're not going to live longer than me...it's just going to seem longer.
    For every life long abstainer, you can find another who has smoked, drank, and caroused themselves to a ripe old age.

  • Comment number 55.

    What a load of complete TWADDLE.

    The available/provided health care provision in the years following WWI were NOT anywhere close to modern health care provision, and the starting point is also very much different hence such a comparison is just nonsensical.

    A large proportion of statistics of POOR health, is SOLELY due to PERSONAL CHOICE, smoking, drinking alcohol, drugs, obesity and NOT due to non-existance of anti-biotics, cold damp housing very much worse than todays, very heavy industrial pollution and much worse air quality.

    The comparison is miles away from ANY like for like measurable comparison.

    Those who often died after WWI are now able to live. The modern gap has MAINLY widened because NEW medication and some treatments are MASSIVELY expensive and beyond the means of the general population.

    The gap in health care provision does NOT prove inequality, it just shows the difference between what sections of society can afford.

    Its basically like saying inequality is based upon whether you own/afford a more expensive brand of trainers and Ipods/mobile phones etc.

    It is VERY misleading!!!

  • Comment number 56.

    26. At 2:37pm on 23 Jul 2010, D G Cullum wrote:
    Why the Great Depression? if you can afford to pay for it you get better treatment the drug companies try their wears out of the poor and old before they sell them to the rich



    Complete and utter garbage.

    What you are suggesting would firstly be a crime against humanity under the Nuremberg protocols prohibiting human experimentation. To arrange a clinical trial requires jumping through more hoops than you can imagine and it goes to X number of ethics organisations etc. After that 20 or 30 people with terminal illness (so the chances of long term harm are minimal) are tested to ensure there's no terrible side effects to the drug. If thats O.K 2 or 3000 people with less advanced disease are tested to see if the drug works (it is illegal to pay people to take part- just expenses). Those who qualify for a trial are picked according to disease status not credit worth.

    THEN what you find with Herceptin, Avastin etc is that NICE refuse to pay for the drug and even 'the rich' can't afford it as if you pay for part of your treatment the NHS demands you then pay for everything.

    The truth is that the reasonably wealthy don't get ill in the first place as they generally pay more attention to their GP, look after their teeth (a major risk factor for heart disease), smoke and drink less, get a bit more excercise, have less money worries so less stress, eat a better diet (because McDonalds and Pizza every night is socially less acceptable).

  • Comment number 57.

    · 43. At 3:16pm on 23 Jul 2010, smilingparrotfan wrote:
    I really think it is all down to intelligence and education. I've been living in a mixed community in central London for many years. The more educated, or more intelligent, tend to eat their fruit and veg, know how to cook a meal from scratch, don't smoke or binge drink and take exercise. They often seem more aware of health issues and are more likely to try and " look after" themselves. The poorer, unemployed or not terribly bright people around here tend to live on junk food, smoke like chimneys and don't know how to cook properly. I realise I am making sweeping statements but that's how it seems to me!

    #######################

    The “more educated, or more intelligent” simply earn more and have a more relaxed lifestyle

    And yes it is a sweeping statement as well as an inaccurate one

  • Comment number 58.

    Oh what a surprise. Under Labour not only did the gap between rich and poor increase massively, so did the health gap. Seems under the socialists that some people are more equal than others.

  • Comment number 59.

    #27. At 2:37pm on 23 Jul 2010, Peter_Sym wrote:

    "However I personally think these obsession with the 'wealth gap' is ridiculous. What matters is that I earn enough to keep a roof over my head, eat healthily, be warm in winter and have a little left over to have some fun with. The fact that someone is earning ten or twenty or 100 times what I do DOES NOT MATTER."

    I agree that simply having *enough* is ultimately all that matters, and you're right that, in-and-of-itself, a wealth gap isn't a problem. What is a problem is when the behaviour of rich people actually makes other people poorer.

    City types spending their bonuses on housing, causing market inflation and upping prices, mortgages and rents for the rest of us. Tax dodgers who force middle earners to carry the burden. Reckless spivs and speculators gambling with the savings and pensions of others.

    I'm happy if rich people want to get richer. But their gains shouldn't require someone else's loss (after all, capitalism is based on economic growth, it's not supposed to be a zero-sum game). Wealth gaps should grow because the rich are on the up, not because they're pushing the poor down.

  • Comment number 60.

    · 46. At 3:18pm on 23 Jul 2010, Billy wrote:
    The health gap between rich and poor HAS widened, but this needs to be viewed in context. The life expectancy of poor people in Britain has risen steadily since the 1930s, it's just the life expectancy of the rich has risen more quickly.

    Never let the facts get in the way of a good story!

    ############################

    Those are the facts and that is the story????????????????????????????????


  • Comment number 61.

    British restaurants were introduced at the end of WW2. They were run on local produce. Open up all public sector canteens and eating places to the general public. In particular schools where eating facilities are far from fully utilised. The cost could be subsidised with money taken from specific
    people receiving benefit who in return would get free meals.
    Loacl farmers would also benefit.

  • Comment number 62.

    45. At 3:18pm on 23 Jul 2010, Its all Thatchers Fault wrote:
    · 27. At 2:37pm on 23 Jul 2010, Peter_Sym wrote:
    However I personally think these obsession with the 'wealth gap' is ridiculous. What matters is that I earn enough to keep a roof over my head, eat healthily, be warm in winter and have a little left over to have some fun with. The fact that someone is earning ten or twenty or 100 times what I do DOES NOT MATTER.

    ######################

    And how much does it cost to “keep a roof over my head, eat healthily, be warm in winter and have a little left over to have some fun with.”




    Not that its any of your business but around £29,000 leaves me a small disposable income. I'm hardly Roman Ambramovich but generally I have never felt the urge to buy a yacht or a football club so the fact that he earns a million times what I do does not impact my life much. Ten years ago I was earning £12,000 a year and that was tight. I literally had about £10 left over at the end of the month. I'd probably have been better off not working than working for that.

  • Comment number 63.

    45. At 3:18pm on 23 Jul 2010, Its all Thatchers Fault wrote:

    And how much does it cost to “keep a roof over my head, eat healthily, be warm in winter and have a little left over to have some fun with.”


    £14,400

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/10510360

  • Comment number 64.

    If anyone actually believes that healthy option food is as cheap as rubbish food, then they obviously don't really have to watch their pennies.

  • Comment number 65.

    Surely part of the cause is the rampant unrestricted immigration sanctioned by most UK governments since 1945? If you have many immigrants from poorer parts of the World, the health statistics must move in that direction. It did not have to happen, but it did, and now you have to accept it.
    But the UK could do much to control ill-health and reduce health expenditure by banning tobacco and by nagging about diet education. It is an intriguing fact that Japanese smoke like chimneys yet have low rates of lung cancer. In a like vein, the so-called Mediterranean diet [you might say normal diet] appears to confer advantages. Eat more fish, less mammal meat [especially processed], less animal fat, more fruit and vegetables and your medical/hospital expenses will shrink. As a rule, food in a packet is not the best thing to eat.

  • Comment number 66.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 67.

    49. At 3:26pm on 23 Jul 2010, Its all Thatchers Fault wrote:

    · 34. At 3:05pm on 23 Jul 2010, Aristarchus of Samos wrote:
    Given the poorer sections of society are:

    1) much more likely to smoke ## Are They?


    Yes.

    http://info.cancerresearchuk.org/cancerstats/types/lung/smoking/

  • Comment number 68.

    · 51. At 3:29pm on 23 Jul 2010, D Smart wrote:
    This is mostly just hype unfortunately for example smoking to name just one risk factor is twice as common in the less well off and they start also start at a earlier age. You can take a camel......

    ##################################

    So the reason for the inequality gap is due to income

    “twice as common in the less well off”


  • Comment number 69.

    Are health and wealth linked was the question...

    Doubt it as here in Britain we get treated on NHS regardless of who we are , so its probably going to be down to lifestyle choices. Private medical plans are helpful but even if you have them the NHS in my experience has been sufficient.

    So really it boils down to education and lifestyle changes and listening to current thinking.

    I suppose if you are in the lower end of society and in a rut you will probably drink heavily and/or take drugs and try to escape your misery.

    But in the end we all have plenty of opportunity in life with education. jobs etc its really down to those that do not seize the opportunities in the first place and better themselves and gain a better standard of living. I mean if you are disabled, mentally ill etc you probably do not get a chance but are there really any poor people out there who did not make there own destiny by not making efforts to better themselves. There have been plenty of jobs around and not always a recession on but many choose not to help themselves. They are not truly poor just unwilling to adapt and get stuck in...

  • Comment number 70.

    It is difficult to see how the gap can be closed, although the good news is that all sections of society are actually living longer, its just that the improvement is less in the poorer sections of the community.
    There are obviously many reasons for this, however at least part of the reason is down to lifestyle choices as a larger porportion of the poor smoke. Additionally there are a lot of obese people particularly within the poorer sector who refuse to take any action to reduce their weight even though they know it will shorter their lifes. My Wife works for the NHS in the community and deals with a lot of people who have health issues because they weigh over 25 stone, the majority if not all of these people live in the more deprived areas.

  • Comment number 71.

    The best way to tackle inequality in healthcare provision in Britain is for us to reject utterly the madness of PFI and PPP,stop signing contracts with the likes of Medi-care and other for-profit providers.Not only do these "providers" offer an extremely lack-lustre service,they are many times more expensive and even when shown to be the worst deal available,we remain locked into binding contracts which destitute health trusts nationwide.Another discrepancy between both Labour and Tory propaganda and the actual results for patient care is the fact that many trusts have ended up paying for services they do not use(because they are useless)as the contracts signed by ministers have locked them into this iniquitous situation.Health secretary Andrew Lansley has just told the NHS Confederation Conference that "management costs"(jobs)will be "Shaved" by a MINIMUM of £220m this year,he has confirmed that this years "model" requires 500-600 "consortia" who will be responsible for £60bn of spending money by "fiscal control and proprietary mechanisms" of the yet to be established NHS Board and that "most of this SHOULD be up and running by 2012".NHS Chief Executive David Nicholson ended the conference by saying that the Tories "Reforms" "will not be anywhere near ready by 2012" To complicate matters more,Lansley has a public inquiry of Mid Staffordshire HT in his in-tray AND private inquries into the sacking/removal of Cornwalls Chief Executive John Watkinson AND Bristols atrociously dysfunctional pathology service.There are also many professionals calling for inquiries into the situation in the East Midlands based on allegations by Professor David Hands and Gary Walker,a former boss of United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust.The connection between all these allegations is regarded as a defensive,power-obsessed management culture that regularly bullies whistle-blowers into being quiet about waste,absurd practices and cover-ups. At the same time the recent "re-configuration" of NHS trusts in Wales saw 22 local Health Boards amalgamated into just 7 new trusts,in order,apparently,to reduce in number the areas 22 chief executives,22 finance directors,22 directors of nursing etc. and save money for "front-line services" but the Welsh Assembly Health Minister,Edwina Hart has promised no jobs will be lost in the new set-up,so there are at this moment dozens of senior managers without meaningful posts.In North Wales alone the Betsi Cadwaladr University NHS Trust has 36 senior managers earning more than £50,000 each pa in these kinds of irrelevant positions.We would to well to revise both "out-sourcing" and terrible management practices in order to at least START to create a system of working trusts with transparency and patient-care at the heart of working practices within the NHS as a whole.

  • Comment number 72.

    I think the gap is more to do with where people live than directly with income levels in themselves. If you live in a leafy suburb or in a city centre, it's easy to buy good food nearby and find somewhere nice to exercise. That's not so true if you live way up in a tower bock or on a cramped housing estate on the edge of town. Maybe subsidised "cheap good food shops" (no processed stuff) and/or "cheap gyms" in areas where health/fitness are low might be a good investment...

  • Comment number 73.

    53. At 3:34pm on 23 Jul 2010, LeftieAgitator wrote:
    The nation's health was at its best during the war years and those years post war when food rationing was in place. Wealth inequality was not a factor in nutrion ,and general food quality was better, more vegetables and fruit, less red meat,few processed food items.



    This is mostly a myth. At times we very nearly starved. Rationing limited what you could buy but you still had to pay for the food. It wasn't given away freely. Black marketeering was rife... if you had money and wanted red meat you could get it. Post war food quality was diabolical.... the bread (which wasn't rationed during the war) was a funny grey colour as the wheat used was so poor and Whale meat (hardly low in cholestrol) was sold in butchers shops.

    Also during the war there was no NHS. The rich saw doctors because they could pay for them. The poor couldn't. Infectious disease like TB, Polio, Diptheria were common. These are almost extinct now.

    What DID aid the nations health was effectively 100% employment. If you weren't in the armed forces you'd be working in a factory, in a mine or in the fields. You weren't sitting at home on benefits watching Jeremy Kyle!

  • Comment number 74.

    The crass ignorance of the Conservative voter, whose moral values are corrupt shows already on this. For a person to have a balanced diet, have enought to stay warm in the winter, cloth themselves, pay bills etc would neccessitate a minimum income of £90 per week. IDS plans to hammer people with heatlh problems and the poorest on Job seekers allowance are at below poverty levels.

    This is the sum of this morally corrupt society and Nation. The soldiers who fought in the War voted for a Labour government which delivered a health service and welfare system, all being attacked relentlsly by the fascist tory media...and they ARE fascist.



    Its time to redistribe wealth from Rich to poor and the best way of doing this is to have a Robin hood tax to cure the Nations budget deficit and end the tyranny of public service cuts.

    Its time to raise the lowest benefit to the official poverty level of £90 per week.

    The widening gulf between Rich and poor emphasise this Nations christain collapse and moral dysfunction and is essentially due to the failure to create jobs and regenirate the North, while we indulge in an orgy of Wealth accumulation. That is Evil, Rightwing evil. Free market depravity.

    The right in Britain are like the Nazis the way they look upon poor people. But I say to you IDS, Cameron, Blair and Thatcher etc etc and all ye who ignore the suffering of the poorest and vulnerable, your suffering will be infinately greater. One day you will regret it but dont call on God for YOU Capitalist have indulged in an orgy of greed and wealth accumulation while others go needy.

    Capitalism british style is as evil as Al-Queda.

  • Comment number 75.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 76.

    The question you pose is how should we tackle the inequality. That assumes that we should seek to tackle it. However is that not then a leading question. If poverty or social disadvantage leads to health inequality then yes we should tackle it. However we are not living in Victorian Britain. Healthy food is as cheap as junk food, everyone has health education, everyone has access to healthcare via the NHS. If there is a difference in health across social classes MAYBE just maybe that is because some individuals choose to eat badly, take little exercise and drink and smoke. If the lower social classes choose to be more hedonistic instead of leading the more disciplined "deferred gratification" lifetyle of the middle class is that not their look out. OR MORE TO THE POINT. Is that not a valid hypothetical opinion meaning that the PC BBC should not pose such a leading question. Watch it folks Auntie Beeb is playing with your mind.

  • Comment number 77.

    · 55. At 3:40pm on 23 Jul 2010, MrWonderfulReality wrote:
    What a load of complete TWADDLE.


    The gap in health care provision does NOT prove inequality, it just shows the difference between what sections of society can afford.

    ##################

    What is “inequality” if not the difference between what one section of society can afford against what another section cant?



  • Comment number 78.

    · 58. At 3:43pm on 23 Jul 2010, Rufus McDufus wrote:
    Oh what a surprise. Under Labour not only did the gap between rich and poor increase massively, so did the health gap. Seems under the socialists that some people are more equal than others.
    ####################

    You obviously have a problem with dates or who was in government on that date or perhaps matching the two is beyond you

  • Comment number 79.

    · 62. At 3:48pm on 23 Jul 2010, Peter_Sym wrote:
    45. At 3:18pm on 23 Jul 2010, Its all Thatchers Fault wrote:
    · 27. At 2:37pm on 23 Jul 2010, Peter_Sym wrote:
    However I personally think these obsession with the 'wealth gap' is ridiculous. What matters is that I earn enough to keep a roof over my head, eat healthily, be warm in winter and have a little left over to have some fun with. The fact that someone is earning ten or twenty or 100 times what I do DOES NOT MATTER.

    ######################

    And how much does it cost to “keep a roof over my head, eat healthily, be warm in winter and have a little left over to have some fun with.”




    Not that its any of your business but around £29,000 leaves me a small disposable income. I'm hardly Roman Ambramovich but generally I have never felt the urge to buy a yacht or a football club so the fact that he earns a million times what I do does not impact my life much. Ten years ago I was earning £12,000 a year and that was tight. I literally had about £10 left over at the end of the month. I'd probably have been better off not working than working for that.

    ###################################


    Perhaps then if you were earning £12,500 a year you might be in a position to comment, no wonder that you can “keep a roof over my head, eat healthily, be warm in winter and have a little left over to have some fun with.”

    Others are not as fortunate as you

  • Comment number 80.

    As the gap between the richest and poorest in our Society continues to widen under the ideologically driven
    Conservative/Liberal Government that is determined to destroy the United Kingdom welfare state, once the envy of the World, so the shameful gap between the health and well-being of the richest and poorest in our society will continue to widen. The poor cannot afford the decent food,access to space and clean air, and the
    freedom from stress, that is essential to the physical and mental well being of us all. The cynical actions of the present Government are setting back the clock a century or more, and reversing our slow and painful
    progress towards a fair and just society of which we could all be proud.


  • Comment number 81.

    I just hate smug middle-classs brits, some of them posting on here, who think they have the right experience and knowledge to even discuss the topic!

  • Comment number 82.

    High quality, fresh and unprocessed food often costs less than low quality, long life and processed food.

    The only problem is that if you're poor there's a very good chance that your local shops will only include a bookmakers, off-license & fast food take-away's and the nearest store selling high quality fresh food will be inconveniently far away for someone who works full time and doesn't own their own car.

    Our housing estates are becoming fresh food deserts and with the rise in out of town supermarkets this makes it much more difficult, time consuming and expensive for people on limited incomes to get to them and therefore they are limited in the range of food they're able to buy.

    Add to this the decades old practice of selling off school fields, under funding of PE lessons & closure of youth clubs with the rise in paranoid parents who wont let their children out of the house and you can see why health is deteriorating (for some people, at least).

    If you raise children on a diet of low quality food and give them few opportunities to exercise then their health is obviously going to be negatively impacted.

    One option that could help encourage children to be more active outdoors and also to eat more fresh food would be the expansion of the allotments scheme. All of my children have their own allotments and all of my grandchildren spend a few hours each week weeding the beds, planting seedlings and so on. Not only is this a good bit of outdoor exercise, it also encourages them to eat more vegetables as they like eating things that they've grown themselves.

    This wouldn't cost that much either, every council estate has some waste ground that could be converted into allotments and all the council would have to do is clear the ground, lay some new top-soil and fence off the area.

  • Comment number 83.

    Firstly I'll address one of your questions - Is there anything that we can learn from the Great Depression?

    This IS the Great Depression. Not a minor blip or a recession - a massive screw up of unprecedented proportions by people who go entirely unpunished.

    Moving on to the relationship between health and wealth there is obviously a connection at the extremes. Multi millionaires can eat the finest most nourishing foods, have their own personal trainers and private gyms etc whilst the population of Ethiopia cannot affiord a bowl of rice between them.

    But outside this, and for most of the UK population, I believe it is a social thing. Without being snobbish, a high proportion of the "working classes" and many of the unemployed smoke and eat (quite expensive) junk food. I would wager that there is a much lower proportion amongst the middle and upper classes.

    So is it a matter of education? Is it cultural? I think it is a mixture of both, together with a certain cynicism towards good advice because the "have nots" are fed up with being pushed around by the champagne set.

  • Comment number 84.

    .....dont worry you small-minded middle-class Daily Mail addicts of the uk.. YOUR TURN WILL COME ..when the wheel has turned full cycle, and the double-dipper's here to stay for the next 5 years.... when the $ collapses. Then you can all speak from REAL personal experience of the horror of cheap food..how difficult it is to cook raw food when you cant afford the gas bill... the VAT payable on a packet of tampons and a pack of toilet roll. Why didnt you get-off your fat backsides and buy those second hand ill-fitting clothes? And why are your payments always so late?

  • Comment number 85.

    We need equality of opportunity. Nothing will ever be equalised by focusing on equality of outcome. Equality of outcome is only feasible via the most grotesque and oppressive social engineering. Apologies to the socialists among you, but people are not equal, and trying to make it so encourages the "it's not my fault" culture which manifests itself in poor dietary/lifestyle choices and the consequences we're debating.

  • Comment number 86.

    3. At 1:35pm on 23 Jul 2010, Toad In The Hole wrote:

    Well do you expect after 13 years of Labour and a rising population?

    33. At 2:57pm on 23 Jul 2010, Aristarchus of Samos wrote:

    You were obviously so desperate to make a political point that you missed the bit about these inequalities having increased since the 1970s. Perhaps you might like to consider a different opinion.

    Crikey Aristarchus,and here was me thinking he or she obviously had some fairly extreme form of OCD,similar to a few of the other 'more regular than is healthy' contributors on here,and was more to pitied than scorned.

    Maybe another one that just slipped through the diagnosis net I guess...or with wealthy enough friends to avoid the stigma from being applied.

  • Comment number 87.

    The difference is related only to three factors. Then diet in rich and poor was relatively similar, and all social classes smoked. Now, by far the worst diets are eaten by those in poorer areas and it is mainly the poorer people who smoke most. It is not related to availability of medical treatment.

    The diet and smoking are cultural and not to money for a better diet. A good diet is not more expensive, indeed a diet with lots of vegetable and little meat is actually cheaper. Similarly smoking is far more expensive than not. Richer people are more likely to exercise and keep fitter. Perhaps some thought should be given to why those who live in the more affluent areas look after themselves better

  • Comment number 88.

    what a sillly question. make the poor richer,close the gap,there will be know need for wellfare or benifits or the NHS,we can all go private.alas we have people in this nation of ours who love being "richer than you" this sight is full of them, there the most obnoxious bunch of people,you hope that the majority are just mickey taking but i'm not so sure.while ever this kind of attitude persist then mankind cannot evolve in to the kind of being at peace not only with himself but with every one else..

  • Comment number 89.

    66. At 4:01pm on 23 Jul 2010, Wiser than you wrote:

    XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXx

    OMG! I wonder what disease you are going to die from.. nastiness?

  • Comment number 90.

    · 66. At 4:01pm on 23 Jul 2010, Wiser than you wrote:
    The reason that the verminous UNDERCLASS has poor health is because it ignorantly and negligently CHOOSES:

    * to eat JUNK FOOD (even though it is more expensive than buying fresh, healthy, unprocessed food) and fried rubbish

    * not to exercise, but to lie at home funded by the taxpayer.

    and then it expects us, the productive sector, to pay for its medical treatment!

    While I could callously say, let evolution take its course, and let the leeches die, I'll end up paying for their medical bills and funerals. So I would benevolently suggest cutting (by 95%) or abolishing all their benefits. They'd have to exercise then, and they'd have no money for junk food, but be fed a 1200 Kcal/day diet in soup kitchens.

    PROBLEM SOLVED. :-)
    #############################

    I see that you have returned to the description of “leeches” to emphasise your constructive, well thought out, reasoned comment.

    Well as constructive, well thought out and reasoned as your comments usually are

    As usual not only are you spouting drivel but offensive drivel at that


  • Comment number 91.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 92.

    Anyway what has happened to that ages old argument that increased/increasing mechanisation will bring ALL classes more affluence and leisure time? That dream, sadly, has been sacrificed on the altar of globalisation, so that the truly globalised elite can really divide and rule. Yes, the gap between rich and poor is ever increasing; its just more subtle in appearance. It can be found on remote tropical islands rented by the seos of goldman sachs et al,connected to the markets via the internet. Increased mechanisation has obviously decreased the capacity for a good quality of life for the majority of the UK's and the world's population.

  • Comment number 93.

    This result is not the least bit surprising.

    It has often been pointed out that the poor get the worse of everything, even when it comes to services like health care and education which are provided by the state, allegedly without discrimination between rich and poor.

    Our ancestors thought that universal suffrage would equalise some of these things. Indeed the wealthy resisted this vigorously because they thought it would mean the end of their privileges. They underestimated the ingenuity that the rich would use to retain control of the political system.

    The rich are allowed to bank roll political parties, they control most of the press and even the pathetically timid legislation designed to limit political expenditure, but only locally during election periods, is systematically avoided. Politicians, especially those on the left, are denigrated in the media, encouraging the poorly educated to abstain from voting. Schools make no attempt to educate children in basic political science in order to enable them to understand and to see through the techniques of political manipulation that will be used against them.

  • Comment number 94.

    'Free Hospitals' - now hiring, no qualifications required. Rusty scalpel desirable.

  • Comment number 95.

    Let us get one very very simple fact clear, the most healthy foods are NOT necessairy the most expensive. One of the most healthy generations of kids were those who were born at the end of WW2 There were serious shortages then as well as severe rationing. Kids were fed with what was available, food that todays kids would turn their noses up at. If parents choose to feed their kids junk foods (expensive) as opposed to good old fashioned home cooking (cheaper) then the resposibility for poor health cannot be laid anywhere else.

  • Comment number 96.

    Many here are totally missing the story!

    Firstly the report does not compare the lowest income indivduals with middle classes, it primarly compares the those in the lowest ten percent incomes with the top ten percent incomes, those on middle incomes are not compared!

    The issue is not just what people consume, ie cigarettes, beer high fat foods etc that make them ill or unable to get a well paid job for that matter.

    The main thrust of the report is to point out that the gulf between the top ten percent earners and the bottom ten percent earners has widened massively since the 1970's to the present time, however since the end of the second world war to the mid 70's this gap was narrowed a little to something more reasonable, many studies have shown that where there is a reasonable comparison of the very rich to the very poor in society then the more stable and contented that society is.

    The issue of the bottom ten percent living shorter lives than the top ten percent is partly to do with eating and drinking habits, it is also education, those on low incomes do not have the same quality of education, or access to the guidance to gain that knowledge, that is not to say that some can and do break through and succeed in life.

    The poor quality of the enviornment the bottom have to live in does not help or encourage them to break, again there is evidence to show that many need help ion breaking free from these totally depressing sprawling housing schemes, just as many employers look at the school, university those in the middle and top went to, they also look at where they stay, and again those at the bottom find the bar raised against them by where they were educated and where they live.

    Even those complaining that this report attacks the middle, should consider the implications of the top ten percent pulling away from the rest of the population, at what point do those top ten percent have not just exclusive estates, but no go areas for those of lower incomes with walled secure villages only accessible by those of a certain class?

    There needs to be some realignment of reward for work, it is wrong that some get bonuses of millions while those they employ get liitle reward, while the tax system then exacerbates this, where a millionaire can boast he pays less tax than the cleaner of his office on the minimum wage!

    Are we a society, are we all in this together? To point to the previous labour government as socialists borders on a sick joke, the labour government boasted that they were the natural aires to thatcherism, they practised much what the tory party would and do practice.

  • Comment number 97.



    The question is not is healthy food more expensive than junk food

    The question is “Are health and wealth directly linked?”

    Why cant people read the question


  • Comment number 98.

    People like to watch a bit of suffering:

    Move all of the sufferers into a warehouse covered by cameras that broadcast 24 hours a day. Once a week, the 'public' vote (phone, txt, www) for who they think deserves to live.

    If that's too boring, put them in silly costumes and set them daft tasks.

    [or is that format a bit old these days?]

  • Comment number 99.

    I think its far too easy to say that life expectancy is closely associated with lifestyle choices, and doubtless these studies do make the correct comparisons. They should take a large group of people of similar age and almost identical lifestyles - preferably "healthy" lifestyles, from different parts of the community and different parts of the country. For instance, I have never smoked (except passively) drink about 21 units of alcohol a year! I Rarely eat burgers and have never been tempted by kebabs, take gentle exercise as a direct result of not being a driver and have a BMI of about 18. Yet a BUPA on-line test tells me my life expectancy is 70-71 years. Is this because I live in east Manchester?

    One of the obvious things as regards diet is, it doesn't matter how much alcohol, fatty foods and even sugar you cut out, it seems impossible to get rid of salt.

  • Comment number 100.

    I don't know the answer, but it would appear that our Government's answer is to undermine our public services and the social fabric of our society, thus eliminating the inequalities amongst the living by ensuring the poor and the weak die off asap - it's almost eugenics.

 

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