Free from fear or favour
No tracking. No cookies

People in North of England ‘Live Shorter, Sicker, Poorer Lives Simply Because of Where They Were Born’

A new report has found it will take 55 years for those living in the north-east to have the same healthy life expectancy now enjoyed in London and the south-east of England

Photo: PSL Images/Alamy

Newsletter offer

Subscribe to our newsletter for exclusive editorial emails from the Byline Times Team.

People living in the north of England will take nearly a lifetime to reach the same healthy life expectancy as those living now in the prosperous south-east, a damning report reveals today.

The IPPR North think tank has found that it will take 55 years, until 2080, for those living in the north-east of England to have the same healthy life expectancy now enjoyed in London and the south-east of England.

It calls for a radical change in funding for local government and a decade of renewal to change this trajectory, warning “only bold and concerted action will change the course of England’s regional divides”.

The report shows the Government’s current ‘levelling up’ programme is inadequate because it is undermined by the scale of local government cuts, and that regional wealth inequality will continue to grow.


‘Prince William Is Part of the Problem’: Plan for 24 New Homes for Homeless Dubbed ‘Drop in the Ocean’ in Cornwall Amid Mounting Crisis

Activists in Cornwall say the scheme – while welcome – will barely touch the sides as 23,000 languish on a council waiting list

IPPR North calls for a reform of capital gains tax to fund investment in the regions, as well as action to stave off political cynicism, investment to halt the collapse of local authority finances, and renewed urgency in the creation of good jobs as part of a renewed regional agenda. 

The report also provides some startling facts showing that the level of inequality in the UK – citing examples which Byline Times also analysed in its March 2024 print edition – of the differences between wealth and health in Blackpool and the London Borough of Kensington and Chelsea.

The report cites that in Blackpool – which has the lowest male life expectancy in England – a man has the same healthy life expectancy as in Turkey, a far poorer country than the UK.

While “one neighbourhood of 6,400 people in Kensington had as much in capital gains as Liverpool, Manchester, and Newcastle combined while Kensington’s overall share of UK capital gains was greater than all of Wales”.

The situation is likely to get worse, by 2030, before it can get any better – posing a huge challenge for a potential incoming Labour government.

Life expectancy is expected to drop further in the north-east, East Midlands and the east of England while continuing to rise in London and the south-east by 2028 to 2030.

Spending by local government has fallen drastically since 2009 to 2010 – especially in urban areas. Taking all locally controlled spending power together, the average local government district area has seen a fall of £1,307 per head of population in real terms. Between now and 2030 it is expected to fall further.


Receive the monthly Byline Times newspaper and help to support fearless, independent journalism that breaks stories, shapes the agenda and holds power to account.

We’re not funded by a billionaire oligarch or an offshore hedge-fund. We rely on our readers to fund our journalism. If you like what we do, please subscribe.

Wealth inequality is on course to grow, with a gap reaching £228,800 per head between the south-east and the north by the end of the decade, on current trends.

Opportunities for good jobs also divide the north and London. By 2030, London will have a 66% employment rate compared to just under 56% for the north-east, the report states.

IPPR North research fellow and the report’s author, Marcus Johns, said: “No one should be condemned to live a shorter, sicker, less fulfilling, or poorer life simply because of where they were born.

“Yet, that is what our regional inequalities offer today as gaps in healthy life expectancy and wealth endure over the generations, demanding urgent action if we are to change course.

“It’s hard to avoid the conclusion we are headed in the wrong direction on inequality in health, wealth, power, and opportunity while local government finances languish in chaos.” 

Written by

This article was filed under
, , , , ,