Today Professor Sir Michael Marmott has warned that the Government’s austerity programme could have disastrous implications for health inequalities.
Marmott identifies that Government cuts will impact on measures that affect health which identifies as employment, education, income and health, child development and environment. He points to cuts to Sure Start funding as impacting on good services for early childhood and warned that wider austerity measures such as the increase in VAT will increase child poverty and also lead to greater health inequalities with the most disadvantaged being greatest affected by the cuts.
Recent research by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation confirmed that government cuts to grants specifically focused towards the needs of the most deprived authorities are resulting in the most deprived authorities facing a much more severe cut than the wealthiest areas in the country.
Last year it was also revealed that the Government plan to redistribute NHS money away from areas with the greatest need by reducing the weighting given to health inequalities when allocating NHS funding.
Labour Cabinet Member for Children, Young People and Families, Councillor Jackie Drayton, said: “The Government are cutting vital funds for children’s services which is hitting the most disadvantaged children and families hardest and impacting on services that tackle both education and health inequalities.
“It is already clear that child poverty will increase as a result of unfair tax rises such as increasing VAT and cuts to childcare and other support for families, this will only lead to worsening health inequalities.
“We know that there are great inequalities in Sheffield and the reasons behind this are complex, Labour have set up a Fairness Commission to look at how the council can tackle poverty and inequalities and increase social justice in Sheffield. However, despite the work we are doing locally the Government’s policies are having disastrous implications for inequalities and the life chances of our children. They should listen to these warnings and change course.”Other news from Sheffield Labour