Living Longer: Concern over Corby life expectancy gap

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A charity has said its work in trying to reduce the gap in life expectancy between poorer and more affluent parts of Northants could be hit by cuts.

Life expectancy in Corby for men is 74 years - one of the lowest in the country according to research conducted for the BBC.

In South Northamptonshire men on average live for 80.4 years.

Age Concern said it fears cuts could hit its Corby work, which includes exercise and healthy eating classes.

The research by public sector analysts at Experian found that Corby had the 10th lowest life expectancy in the UK, beaten by the urban communities of Blackpool, Dundee and Glasgow.

'Influx of older people'

Liam Condron, chief executive of Age Concern Northamptonshire, said he had a good relationship with Northamptonshire County Council, but any cuts could hit its work in preventing health problems in older age.

"About 10 years ago we took the decision it was not enough just to pick up the pieces and the local authority gives us money towards prevention, but recently less money."

Mr Condron said the organisation was seeing large growth in elderly people moving into the Kettering/Milton Keynes corridor.

"Whereas in the past there was an influx of young families, now there is an influx of the older age group," he said.

"Over the next 10 to 20 years will are expecting to see a huge increase, particularly in the over 80s."

He said the coalition government has said it aims to protect services for the elderly.

But there were concerns that any government or council cutbacks would hit the "disadvantaged end of the older population - the older people who need social care".

'Providing services'

He said: "My question is: Are these benefits going to be protected? Those who need care, will these people be protected?"

"The government has put in £2bn for social care nationally, which is great, but at the same time they are removing the constraints on councils in terms of ringfencing funding [on social care]," he said.

"When the councils are squeezed there is a real concern that funding won't increase, but will decrease."

Northamptonshire County Council's corporate director of health and adult social services Charlie MacNally said the council had to "ensure that vulnerable people are getting the care service that meets their needs".

"We are all living longer and we can't magic away needs. To provide services we need to find the money to do it," he said.

A spokesperson for the county council added: "Following the comprehensive spending review announcement we have identified that we need to save up to £130m in the next four years.

"Everything the council does is being looked at and detailed budget proposals will be published before the end of the year."

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