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New Conservative seats and the healthy life expectancy gap

The new Conservative seats are skewed towards the lower end of healthy life expectations. 13 of the 20 Conservative seats with the lowest male healthy life expectancy were won from Labor in the 2019 election. In total, the Conservatives won 41 seats from Labor with below average healthy life expectations, almost enough alone to give them a majority.

So, what does this mean for the new government?

Evidence shows that the strongest influences on health are the circumstances in which we are born, grow, live, work and age: the wider determinants of health. These are the underlying drivers of health and can either enable individuals and societies to flourish or not.

The Conservative majority has been built on seats in areas with low healthy life expectations, and lower than the traditional profile of a Conservative seat. This means that this new cohort of MPs, and the government whose majority is largely loyal to these seats, should view this as an incentive to take action on improving healthy life expectations and narrowing these inequalities.

Our recent report, Creating healthy lives, offers a blueprint for how government might approach this task. And in February 2020 the Health Foundation-funded Health Equity in England: The Marmot Review 10 Years On will be launched by the Institute of Health Equity to examine progress in addressing health inequalities in England and propose recommendations for future action.

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