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Alex calls for tackling health inequalities to be made a priority for economic recovery

People in more deprived areas will be left behind if tackling health inequalities is not a priority as the country words towards economic recovery, said Stockton North MP Alex Cunningham.

The Labour MP who regularly speaks out on tackling health inequalities has highlighted the added danger that people with poor health in deprived areas will face compared to their wealthier and healthier counterparts in more affluent areas of the country. Stockton on Tees has often been used as a case study to highlight the health inequalities in the country, with men living in the town centre expected to live 18 years fewer than those just a couple of miles down the road in the same constituency.

One of the key factors is income that has created this inequality in health is income, because the less money you have, the fewer resources you have to live a health life. Between April and June 2020, the economy shrank 20.4% compared with the first three months of the year, which means the UK is in its first recession since 2009. This shrink with severely affect those from poorer backgrounds who are more likely to have an unstable income and work on zero hour contracts which can simply be terminated at any time.

Speaking about his fears for his area, Alex Cunningham said:

“Successive Government’s and Conservative Prime Ministers have been promising to tackle health inequalities for years, but nothing has happened. Residents in Stockton were told that we’d be getting a new hospital building, but a decade later all we seem to be getting are occasional scraps that do nothing to plug the gap. Although it was announced yesterday that North Tees is getting £3m for hospital upgrades, we need a new building.

“Poorer health will lead to shorter lives, and it is seems to be the deprived areas such as mine in Stockton North that are bearing the brunt of a Government that appear unable or unwilling to address the core issues. We should be tackling health inequalities and deprivation to ensure that everyone has the best start to life and the same chances to get on and get by.

“As we work to bring ourselves out of this recession, health inequalities should be at the top of the Government’s agenda to stop the poverty cycle in its tracks. Resource must be allocated to help people live happier and longer lives. Words are not good enough, we need to see some action.”