Health inequalities: Deprivation and poverty

Explore how the pandemic impacted different areas across the country in different ways, dependent on their location and levels of deprivation. This work informs part of the health inequalities hub, which is funded by UK Government.

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Office for National Statistics (ONS) data (August 2020) shows that people who live in the most deprived areas of England and Wales were around twice as likely to die after contracting COVID-19. 

A more recent House of Commons briefing paper published on 26 October 2021, reports that poverty is set to increase over the coming years. Local councils and the voluntary sector up and down the country continue to play a crucial role in providing support to these areas. 

Questions to consider for councillors on place

1. What are the differences in life expectancy and years of healthy life across your authority’s area?

2. What are the differences in other health indicators (such as smoking, obesity, alcohol and drug misuse) across your area and where are the people with the worst and the best health outcomes living?

3. How are differences in health across your authority correlated with income distribution and with other social determinants of health such as educational attainment, rates of employment, type of housing tenure, proximity to accident hotspots, areas of high pollution and green spaces?

4. How do your council’s high-level strategies across all its functions take account of and address the social determinants of health in relation to inequalities of place?

 5. How can you make use of your knowledge of the health and socio-economic profile of your own ward to press for action to address health inequalities across your area through a ‘health in all policies’ approach?

6. How can you use your membership of any ‘place-based’ forums, such as a local economic partnership, area board or employers’ forum to develop priorities and target funding to maximise health outcomes?

Explore case studies from councils which showcase the best examples of working to reduce poverty and deprivation and how COVID-19 exacerbated the inequalities facing communities across the country.