It is extremely expensive to be poor. Your time is valued less, hand to mouth costs more and you can’t buy money at a price you can afford.
And your life, how is it valued…
Well, it’s measured by health inequalities. We see the price of life played out, every day at the dreary government press conferences. The skinny lines that snake across the screen hide sinister facts.
The most deprived areas of England and Wales have 55.1 deaths per 100,000 people, compared with 25.3 in affluent areas.
CV-19 nearly killed BoJo and for all I know, nearly killed you. Prime minister or postman, scientist or sinner, or both… the virus doesn’t discriminate but its impact is about as discriminatory as it can get.
CV-19 has done its evil worst where people are the poorest, the most jobless, the most vulnerable.
If we come out of Covid lockdown, without some thought, it will be the jobless, poorest and vulnerable who will be left behind.
Shadow Health Secretary, Jonathan Ashworth, has been thinking about this and in a paper, released yesterday, he suggests three things.
It is at this point I would, normally, link to his words of wisdom. Alas, I can’t find them. I know he did it because he talked about it on some of the TV stations. He also got coverage in the Independent newspaper but I can’t find the original.
If it’s on the Labour Party press release web-pages… I can’t find it. If they sent me a copy, my inbox has eaten it.
It is nowhere to be found and it is a pity because it makes a lot of sense. You’ll have to make do with my interpretation of what I think he said.
And, if he didn’t say it, he should have!
Here are my three points.
In the short term; assuming we get to grips with testing, it should be rolled out in areas of highest risk and poorest areas.
Figuring out where they are isn’t difficult , we have plenty of data to go on.
Testing, for CV19, in these areas is the most likely to be fruitful to delay the spread.
Second and in the medium term; the areas of highest deprivation are the areas most likely to have an high incidence of chronic and longterm conditions.
Using resource allocations to target these areas, to see that they are not exacerbated by CV-19, makes a lot of sense and is an investment in the future.
Third and for the longer term; to review the CV-19 damage, set up a health inequalities commission and find ways to stop things getting worst.
It is a little recognised fact that the lowest earning 10% of the population are 7 times more likely to be in a sector that closed down, during lock-down and the jobs that could be most at risk.
The escape from poverty and inequality is made more difficult by the speed with which people get richer.
As we escape our incarceration there is talk about an emerging ‘new normal’. Working from home, cuts in travel, remote conferencing and a tech-assisted new efficiency.
If the ‘new normal’ takes us back to the old world of inequalities the gaps will grow even wider.
The sacrifice that families have made, the front-line workers have made, our businesses and economy has made, will be worth so much less if we can’t level-up our communities and leave no one behind.
Have the best weekend you can.
News and Comment from Roy Lilley