Minister’s ignorance of Marmot Review is “shameful”, says Ashworth

Sienna Rodgers

Labour’s Jonathan Ashworth has said it is “shameful” that the government minister for equalities did not appear to know of the Marmot Review – a landmark report on health inequalities.

When new Labour MP Mary Kelly Foy asked about the 2010 and 2020 reviews by Professor Marmot in the chamber today, Kemi Badenoch appeared not to have heard of the reports despite holding the equalities brief.

The minister said: “I’m afraid I haven’t seen this specific report. I’m not sure I’ve seen the report she is referring to, but if she writes to me I can give her a much more comprehensive response than at the despatch box.

“Without seeing the recommendations she’s referring to, I’m not sure that I can fully comment, but I will look forward to seeing that letter and hopefully it will have things that we can include in there.”

Commenting on the exchange, Shadow Health Secretary Jonathan Ashworth told LabourList: “Michael Marmot’s landmark research shows how ten years if austerity have seen health inequalities widens and life expectancy advances stall for some of the very poorest.

“Covid 19 thrives on these inequalities and sees people from BAME communities more likely to die from this horrific disease. For an equalities minister to be clueless about the Marmot Review is both shameful and tells you everything you need to know about this Tory government.”

In February, following the release of Marmot’s decade-later update, Ashworth wrote a piece for LabourList in which he noted that it showed life expectancy was stalling for the first time in more than 100 years.

The shadow cabinet member pointed out that life expectancy is declining for the poorest 10% of women, adding: “That is a disgrace. The truth is that poverty means you become ill quicker and die sooner.”

Coming ten years after Sir Michael Marmot first published data on the growing wealth and regional gaps in England, the author concluded: “England has lost a decade.”

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