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Build Back Fairer: The COVID-19 Marmot Review

Helen Barnard, Director of the independent Joseph Rowntree Foundation
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As the UK emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic #BuildBackBetter has become the mantra. Important, but we need to Build Back Fairer. The levels of social, environmental and economic inequality in society are damaging health and wellbeing.

It was the principles of fairness and the need to do things differently that animated the concrete recommendations we set out in our February 10 Years On Review, just before the pandemic hit with such devastating intensity.

Inequalities in mortality from COVID-19 and rising health inequalities as a result of social and economic impacts, have made such action even more important.

The aim of this report is three-fold:

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  1. To examine inequalities in COVID-19 mortality. Focus is on inequalities in mortality among members of BAME groups and among certain occupations, alongside continued attention to the socioeconomic gradient in health – the more deprived the area, the worse COVID-19 mortality tends to be
  2. To show the effects that the pandemic, and the societal response to contain the pandemic, have had on social and economic inequalities, their effects on mental and physical health, and their likely effects on health inequalities in the future
  3. To make recommendations on what needs to be done

The Joseph Rowntree Foundation (@jrf_uk) responds to the publication of Build Back Fairer: The COVID-19 Marmot Review

Helen Barnard, Director of the independent Joseph Rowntree Foundation, said:

“The pandemic has laid bare the terrible consequences of failing to address poverty and health inequality in this country. Communities that were already struggling have been hit hardest and now face a rising tide of unemployment that risks further entrenching poverty and ill health.

“It can never be right that someone’s life chances are so profoundly affected by where they live, the colour of their skin or how much money their family has. It is clear that we cannot go back to the way things were if we are to truly break poverty’s grip on our nation’s health – tackling poverty and health inequality must be at the heart of our post-Covid recovery. A Government commitment to make the £20 increase to Universal Credit permanent would be a good place to start.”

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