Austerity is shortening lives

Life expectancy has been one of those measures used often to indicate human progress.  On this measure, the UK doesn't do so well compared to other European countries.   

Life expectancy at birth in the UK  increased by 13.1 weeks per year on average since 1980–1982 for males and 9.5 weeks per year on average for females.

The reduction in the proportion of men smoking, along with the decline of heavy industry and the move away from physical labour and manufacturing industries towards the service sector are likely factors contributing to the changes, while female life-styles and childbirth have changed substantially.

The most common age at death in the UK for men is 85 and for women, it is 89. Progress indeed.

The health and wellbeing of our population are falling, and with it so too is life-expectancy.

Austerity is shortening our lives, or at least for some of us.   And there is the point.

Austerity has increased inequality and poverty, driven by the Tory cuts and approach to welfare.   Child poverty has increased for the first time in decades.  There are now over 4 million children living in poverty.

The increasing use of food banks is an indicator of the tragic impact the relentless cuts have had on hard-working families.   Mental health problems are increasing.  We are all poorer for the consequences of cuts explicitly targetting the poorest, those least able to fend for themselves.

Public health spending is down and the consequences are real.  Austerity makes little sense economically.  It reduces health and wellbeing.  It cuts short lives.  It has been a senseless mistake.

Do the Tories really care? The answer is a palpable, no.  If they did they would have reversed their policies long ago.  

During the 2017 general election, the Tories mocked Labour's spending plans to end austerity.  They told us there was no 'money tree'.  Their in-fighting over Brexit took eyes off the ball and distracted attention from the real issues we face.  The devastating consequences of a decade of cuts to vital services; the NHS, childcare, social care, education, public health, children's services.  

Brexit should not be our priority.  Brexit is no solution.  Ending austerity and investing in our social infrastructure and in protecting our environment should be the priorities in the general election. 



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