Jeremy Corbyn began his report by wishing Margaret Beckett a happy 75th birthday. He spoke about the 100th anniversary of the 1918 Representation of the People’s Act. He paid tribute to inspirational campaigners and activists who fought for universal suffrage. He noted that he spoke about his personal admiration for Mary Wollstonecraft in a recent BBC programme celebrating the centenary. Jeremy also noted that the NEC was over 50% female with a record number of BAME representatives. He spoke of Labour’s clear commitment to increasing diversity of our political representatives at both local and national levels.
Jeremy also talked about the NHS crisis, the subject of a recent party political broadcast. Jeremy also spoke about Carillion and how the subsequent collapse highlights the deep flaws in the Tory’s privatisation agenda. Jeremy described the scandal as a watershed moment in the relationship between public services and privatisation. Jeremy talked about Labour’s work preparing for government and setting out Labour’s positive vision for Britain. He talked about Brexit and the EU, as well as the damaging impact the roll out of universal credit has had on many communities.
Finally, Jeremy spoked about international human rights, refugees and forced migrants around the world. There are 66 million UN recognised refugees escaping conflict, environmental disasters and climate change. Jeremy said that Britain ought to be leading the world in supporting refugees and challenging the causes of the global migrant crisis such as inequality, poverty and climate change. Continue reading
To celebrate International Women’s day, I thought I would share this fantastic video made by some of my work colleagues.
My colleagues work for STRIVE, a DFID funded research consortium investigating the social norms and inequalities that drive HIV. They say:
“Violence against women – and the threat of violence – touch all of our lives. We tend to believe that this violence – rooted in the inequality between men and women – must be very difficult to prevent, perhaps impossible. But an approach called SASA! makes us think again.” Check-out the video to find out more or visit http://strive.lshtm.ac.uk.
Domestic violence was discussed at a recent meeting of Islington’s Health and Wellbeing Scrutiny Committee. A presentation included an estimate of the cost of domestic violence to local authorities in terms of physical and mental health care, criminal justice, social services, housing, civil legal services, lost economic output and the human and emotional cost.
The total cost of domestic violence in London was estimated to be over £1billion a year. The annual cost to Islington in terms of physical and mental health care alone is estimated to be almost £8million. Domestic violence can affect anyone, regardless of their age, sex or social class. If accurate, these figures are truly shocking. We cannot afford to ignore the hidden costs of domestic violence.
Islington’s 2012 Annual Public Health Report focuses on the health impacts of alcohol. The report explains:
“Alcohol has an important and positive role in British culture and is used widely in our social and family life. It also plays an important role in our economy. The UK’s alcohol drinks market is estimated to be worth more than £30 billion per year and is a significant part of Islington’s thriving night time economy, contributing to employment and economic development. The vast majority of people enjoy alcohol without causing any harm to themselves or others. However alcohol is a toxic substance that can have a detrimental effect on nearly all parts of the body. Increasingly, alcohol is becoming a significant cause of personal, social and economic harm.
Although in recent years there has been an overall decline in consumption, this is not consistent across all age groups. There are economic, health and social consequences of alcohol-related harm and a strong link with deprivation. Often the negative effects of alcohol are felt by someone other than the person who has been drinking, for instance children.”
The report contains some shocking statistics. For example, of the 1,356 domestic violence offences reported in Islington in 2011/12, 607 were indentified as alcohol-related. Alcohol-related harm was estimated at costing the NHS at least £25.1 billion in 2008 and £230 million in Islington. Alcohol contributes to one in twenty deaths in Islington. The borough has the highest rate of alcohol related hospital admissions in London. Continue reading
This week I have been in sunny San Francisco attending the American Public Health Association (APHA) 2012 Annual Conference. APHA has launched a powerful poster campaign throughout the city highlighting health inequalities through the different life expectancies of residents in different zip codes. Life expectancy can vary by decades depending on where you grow up. The campaign’s tag line is “your zip code shouldn’t predict how long you’ll live, but it does.”
In highly unequal countries like the USA and the UK, income and the community where you grow up can dramatically effect your life chances. A famous example is how in the UK you can actually predict how long someone will stay in education from their birthweight.
UCL Academic Dr James Cheshire recently mapped Londoners life expectancy on the London Underground map. Dr Cheshire found a 20 year life expectancy gap between people born near Oxford Circus and those born near some stations in East London on the Docklands Light Railway.
It is unacceptable that someone from deprived urban areas should automatically have fewer opportunities and a poorer quality of life than someone born in a more affluent area. Well done to the American Public Health Association for drawing attention to this important public health issue.