POVERTY KILLS – £10Now! a matter of life and death!
That’s the clear conclusion to be drawn from yet another damning report on health inequalities in this rich nation. And since the prime roots of poverty and inequality are rampant low pay and cruel cuts to already miserly welfare benefits, this makes the struggle for a national minimum wage of £10 Now! – and an end to benefit cuts – matters of life and death.
The authoritative Glasgow Centre for Population Health (GCPH) has issued a report proving that life expectancy is a lottery, dependent on what district and income bracket you’re born into. Overall, during the past 20 years there’s been a rise in life expectancy in Scotland and its biggest city, Glasgow. But the wealth-based gap in the length of life a man lives has remained static, with the rich living 13 years longer than the poor. For women, the situation is even more backwards. The latest figures show a rich woman living on average 85.2 years, compared with a near-neighbour who is poor only living 74.5 years. That gap has leapt up from 8.1 years to 10.7 years over the past 15 years.
The Great Health Divide
Glasgow suffers shorter life expectancy than the Scottish average. But within the same city, and indeed the same corner of the city, we get examples that illustrate the chasm that separates the rich from the rest of us. Women in Drumchapel, Ruchil and Possilpark can only expect to live 73.1 years, whereas a short drive along Great Western Road, those in relatively affluent Kelvinside and Kelvindale enjoy 84.3 years. And that says nothing about the relative quality of life; the prevalence of illnesses in later life that those on low incomes suffer far more than their rich contemporaries.