It has shown that gaps in life expectancy between wealthy Southern areas and the North were growing even before the pandemic, with women in parts of Leeds expected to die 20 years before a counterpart in areas of the capital.
The material published in The Lancet also uncovered a 27-year gap in life expectancy between men living in Kensington and Chelsea and those in Blackpool.
The ICL researchers found communities with the lowest life expectancy – below 70 and 75 years for men and women, respectively – were typically situated in urban areas in the North of England.
And that was before the sinister advent of Covid-19. It will have been compounded by households across Yorkshire and the North facing an “avalanche” of debt accrued during the crisis, as was reported in June this year by think tank the Centre for Cities.
The new study’s senior author, Professor Majid Ezzati, from ICL’s School of Public Health, said the research “signals ongoing policy failures to tackle poverty and provide adequate social support and healthcare”.
And what does that mean in human terms? It means hard-working people do not enjoy their well-earned retirements. It means they do not get to see the world they had saved for because of their postcode. It means they do not get to meet their grandchildren.
What it must mean is that there are now deeds over words on “levelling up” – or continue as we are, with deadly consequences.