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Women’s Life Expectancy: Disadvantaged Areas

Volume 673: debated on Wednesday 11 March 2020

6. What recent discussions she has had with the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care on improving life expectancy among women living in disadvantaged areas. (901471)

Life expectancy at birth in England is the highest that it has ever been. Every single person deserves to lead a long, healthy life, no matter who they are or where they live. This Government have been clear that we will address the needs of all those who have been left behind.

Well, that is not true for women in the poorest communities in our country, is it? The Marmot review shows that life expectancy has fallen for women in the poorest communities. Frankly, that is what happens after 10 years of public service cuts and falling living standards. When are the Government going to take responsibility for the misery they have inflicted on the poorest women in the country?

I thank the hon. Member for explaining women’s health inequalities to me, but I fully support the Government’s commitment to delivering £33.9 billion of investment in the NHS—the largest cash boost in its history—which will make reducing health inequalities for all possible.

Will the Minister explain what action is being taken to support women—especially black and minority ethnic women, and single mothers—who have faced not only disproportionately more poverty under years of austerity, but also the greatest barriers to work? How are Ministers breaking down barriers to lift those women out of the poverty that this Government have put them in?

The hon. Member specifically asks about women from the poorest backgrounds, and black, Asian and minority ethnic groups. I thank the Under-Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, my hon. Friend the Member for Mid Bedfordshire (Ms Dorries), for the work she is doing in this regard. Through the long-term plan, the NHS will accelerate action to achieve 50% reductions in stillbirths, maternal mortality, neonatal mortality and serious brain injury by 2025, which specifically affect those women the most.