The Prime Minister claimed last week at Prime Minister’s Questions that the life expectancy gap between the richest and poorest in the country was closing – which was proven to be false according to FullFact using evidence by scientists on the Longevity Science Panel.
The evidence shows that life expectancy gap between the richest and poorest is widening right up until 2015 which is the most recent data in the analysis. Data collected in March 2019 confirm the trajectory by showing that women in the poorest parts of England are living three months fewer whilst their wealthier counterparts are seeing their average life span rise by almost as much.
The question was put to the Prime Minister by Stockton North MP Alex Cunningham, who raised concerns about the gap in life expectancy between men in some areas of Stockton North compared to men in Uxbridge and South Ruislip – the constituency of the Prime Minister.
Alex took the opportunity to raise a point of order in the House of Commons asking whether the Prime Minister would correct the record and apologise for inadvertently misleading the House.
In response to my question to him about health inequality and the need for a new hospital in Stockton, the Prime Minister told MPs the gap “is a disgrace”, then added: “None the less, it is coming down, and it will come down.”
The Independent newspaper reminded us on Friday that in fact, official statistics last March showed the discrepancy between men in the richest and poorest areas has widened by about three months.
Madame Deputy Speaker – We know the Prime Minster likes to make things up on the hoof but is there anything you can do to have him come to the House, admit his mistake and apologise?