There's a study in the BMJ today looking at the relationship between socioeconomic inequality and mortality rates in Britain over the past ninety years. Here are some of the findings:

by the year 2007 for every 100 people under the age of 65 dying in the best-off areas, 199 were dying in the poorest tenth of areas. This is the highest relative inequality recorded since at least 1921. When we looked at people aged under 75, for every 100 people dying in the best-off areas, 188 were dying in the poorest tenth of areas. That is the highest ratio of inequality recorded since at least 1990.

The longer term picture suggests that it was only prolonged and enthusiastic state intervention that reduced inequalities in mortality... Similarly, it could be argued that prolonged state disengagement in promoting equality in outcome over the period 1978-2007 allowed inequalities in health between areas of Britain to rise to their current maximum levels.

And, unsurprisingly, for all their noise about making 'a fairer society', the situation is probably only going to get worse under the new government:

over the next decade a combination of knock-on effects of the current downturn and relaxation of existent controls over tendencies for economic inequalities to rise will probably accelerate, rather than attenuate, the observed increases in inequalities in mortality.

Have a good weekend.