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The impact of the economic downturn and policy changes on health inequalities in london

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Sir Michael Marmot's
IHE team

Poverty and Income Inequalities

Income and Welfare

Having insufficient money to lead a healthy life is a highly significant cause of health inequalities, there is a clear relationship between wealth and health - the wealthier you are the heathier you are likely to be. The relationship between socio-economic status and disability free life expectancy, for instance, follows a clear gradient. Wages, taxation, and benefits (in countries with welfare states), all have an effect on individual income and welfare and should be seen as important health policies.

In the Marmot Review, it was recommended that the UK government review and establish systems of taxation, benefits, pensions and tax credits to provide minimum income for healthy living for people of all ages.

In a global setting, providing a minimum income and financial support for all people, but particularly those who are disadvantaged or struggling, is also very important.

The reports below discuss these issues and provide examples of programmes that have sought to analyse the relationship between income, welfare systems and health and recommend ways of reducing health inequalities through financial and welfare policies.

Recession and welfare page:

We have also now developed a specific section of our website for information on examples of work being done to measure and mitigate against the particular effects that the recession and welfare reforms might have on health, housing, income and employment in the UK. It is available here.

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