“In the Chancellor’s statement, it was positive to hear that benefits will rise in line with September’s inflation rate (by 10.1%) and that the benefit cap will be increased with inflation for next year. The rise in the national living wage (£10.42 an hour as of next year) will indeed make a difference to many families across the North but we need action that tackles the entrenched inequalities across our region which are due to the long-term effects of economic disadvantage at population level.
Increasing the school’s budget, with an extra £2.3bn a year is welcome, but this needs to be targeted at the schools which need it the most. We know children in the North lost more schooling in lockdown than their peers in the rest of England so we must see action from government on joined-up welfare, health, and social care systems that support children in deprived areas, especially those places most affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Overall, the cost of living measures will make a small difference, but alongside cuts to public services and a lack of place-based policies the Autumn Statement offers little that will address health inequalities to ensure everyone, regardless of where they are born can live a long and healthy life.”
Hannah Davies, Health Inequalities Lead, The Northern Health Science Alliance.
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