RCPCH responds to latest data on inequality

The Department for Work and Pensions has published a report today on living standards on the UK based on household income measures for the 2017-18 financial year. Professor Russell Viner, President of the RCPCH, responds.

The report finds that average incomes remained stable between 2016-17 and 2017-18 at around record highs, that income inequality before and after housing costs remained around the same level as the period 2010-11 to 2016-17, which is lower than the levels observed around the 2008-09 UK economic recession, and that relative and absolute low income before housing costs for the overall population rose slightly in the latest year while relative and absolute low income after housing costs remained broadly stable.

In response, Professor Russell Viner, President of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH), said:

These latest figures show that a large proportion of families continue to struggle, and with inequalities known to lead to higher rates of poor mental health, increased alcohol or substance misuse, obesity and death, the outlook ahead looks bleak.

Despite a very welcome shift in the prioritisation of child health by the Government, universal early years’ services continue to bear the brunt of cuts to public health services, with no targeted help provided for children and families experiencing poverty. This is a substantial threat to the good progress the Government is making. Without increased investment in public health services, ensuring a healthy future for our children will be difficult to grasp.

I urge the Government to support these vulnerable families by reversing public health funding cuts and giving them the help they so urgently need.