Frances Ryan, in The Guardian:
Medics often use life expectancy as a barometer of the health of a nation and by official measures, Britain is getting sicker. For the first time in 100 years, Britons are dying earlier, leading a team of specialists to meet at University College London this month to investigate it.
The UK now has the worst health trends in western Europe, with experts stating that austerity is a major factor. This is no coincidence considering that consecutive Conservative-led governments chose far deeper cuts in the wake of the 2008 global crash than many other European countries, opting for dramatic reductions in funding for anything from meals on wheels, to NHS spending and social security.
Even babies are not immune to such political failings. The infant mortality rate in England and Wales is rising after more than a century of continuous improvement. As child poverty grows, the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health estimates infant mortality rates could be 140% higher here than in comparable wealthy countries by 2030.