Inequality and Social Mobility

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 4:58 pm on 12th June 2019.

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Photo of Amber Rudd Amber Rudd The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions 4:58 pm, 12th June 2019

Characteristically, the hon. Gentleman raises an important point. We know that different headwinds are at play here, and we know that social media is, in some respects, having a negative impact on health inequalities. My right hon. Friend the Health Secretary recently met with social media companies to see what can be done to control the harmful websites that are, for instance, part of the reason why we believe people may be committing suicide. My right hon. Friend the Home Secretary recently commissioned Dame Carol Black to review drug usage. Different things are going on here, but I reassure the hon. Gentleman that we are alive to wanting to improve health inequalities in this area, and we recognise that there is more to do.

We will set specific, measurable goals for narrowing discrepancies in health outcomes, and all local health systems will be expected to set out how they will reduce them in their area. That will ensure that we continue to provide world-class healthcare free at the point of use not just for this generation, but for generations to follow. As part of our long-term funding for the NHS, a five-year budget settlement will see funding grow by an average of 3.4% in real terms, because it is vital that anyone who suffers illness or cannot work knows that we stand ready to support them at times of need.