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The Progressive Policy Think Tank

IPPR – New Marmot report lays bare unacceptable health divide between rich and poor

Think tank found that public health cuts have been 3.5 times higher in the areas with the most Covid-19 fatalities in England 

In a report published last week, the IPPR and IPPR North think tanks revealed that the poorest areas in England had endured the biggest public health cuts in England. Overall, England has seen a cut of £13.20 per person, whilst the Midlands experienced a cut of £16.70 per person, and the North £15.20 per person. Within this, the North East was worst affected with cuts of £23.24 per person.  

These correlated strongly to areas where Covid-19 deaths have been highest in England – with cuts to the public health grant 3.5 times higher in places with the most fatalities than in those with the least. 

Responding to Professor Sir Michael Marmot's report on widening health inequalities, to be published on Tuesday, IPPR's senior health fellow Chris Thomas said: 

"Once again, Sir Michael Marmot has laid bare the unacceptable health inequalities ravaging England. These were a shame on our country before Covid hit - and stripped away resilience to the pandemic in some of the country’s most vulnerable places. And it comes just days after IPPR research exposed that public health cuts have been 3.5 times higher in places that have suffered the most Covid deaths.  

"For those who still need convincing, this report proves you cannot cut welfare, disregard public health, bankrupt local authorities and undo social security without brutal consequences. The logic of austerity has been further discredited by the reality of Covid-19. 

"Health inequality is neither justifiable nor inevitable. It's time to invest in healthy people and places - to help recover from Covid-19 and to safeguard against future health shocks. The alternative is to needlessly sacrifice a generation of children to poor health and worse life chances." 


Chris Thomas is available for interview 


David Wastell, Head of News and Communications: 07921 403651 [email protected]  

Robin Harvey, Digital and Media Officer: 07779 204798 [email protected]  


  1. The IPPR and IPPR North paper, Levelling up Health for prosperity by Chris Thomas, Sarah Longlands and Anna Round, is available for download at:  
  1. Cuts to local public health budgets in the 20 per cent of local authorities with the least Covid-19 deaths totalled £80 million (2014/15 – 2020/21, real terms). In the places with the most deaths, they totalled £290 million.  
  1. Overall, cuts to local public health budgets totalled an estimated £750 million in the same time period. 
  1. IPPR North is the leading think-tank for the north of England, developing bold ideas for a stronger economy and prosperous places and people. For more information, visit   
  1. IPPR is the UK’s pre-eminent progressive think tank. With more than 40 staff in offices in London, Manchester, Newcastle and Edinburgh, IPPR is Britain’s only national think tank with a truly national presence.