Regional economic inequality is one of the many failures of the last 14 years of poor Conservative rule. Despite many commitments to “level up”, “make Britain great again” and shift the economic focus out of London and the South East, Manchester City remains among one of the poorest areas in the country. This doesn’t just impact people’s finances, but their health and overall life expectancy.

Research has found that people in lower socio-economic groups are more likely to have long-term health conditions. As a result, Manchester has one of the lowest life expectancy rates for men at just over 75.5 years, and the third lowest for women in the country at 79.2 years. Areas in southern England, however, dominate the list for the highest life expectancy, making up the entire top 10 for both men and women, with no areas in the south of England appearing in the top 10 for the lowest life expectancy.

That’s why tackling economic inequality must be the utmost priority for the Government. Not addressing this divide costs lives.

This week, I asked the Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury about the work the Government is doing on this. This month, the Tories introduced their lacklustre, last-ditch-attempt-to-win-votes Budget, which the director of the IPPR North said showed the Government “has given up on levelling up this Parliament, despite there being much left to do.”

I highlighted this, and explained that if it delivered the Conservatives delivered its levelling-up commitments, my constituents would benefit from reduced social welfare dependency, increased earnings potential, and improved health and wellbeing. I asked the Minister directly about his government’s failure to deliver on these commitments, and asked whether he thought my constituents deserve the benefits that come with economic prosperity. Suffice to say, I was not impressed with his answer.

You can read the transcript of the debate here, or watch my intervention here.

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