There has been a North-South health divide in England for a long time now, with the gap continuing to widen over the past four decades. The causes of health inequality are broadly similar across the country and on average, poor health increases with increasing socio-economic disadvantage. But the severity of these causes is greater in the North. Further, austerity measures are making the situation even worse, impacting more heavily on the North and disadvantaged areas. It is against this background that the independent Inquiry on Health Equity for the North, commissioned by Public Health England, was set up.
The resulting report, Due North, details evidence on trends in health inequalities and flowing from this provides a set of recommendations - based on the root causes of health inequalities - for policies that can address social inequalities in health within the North and between the rest of England. On the housing front, it highlights the detrimental effects of poor housing on physical and mental health and the extent to which unsuitable housing, housing conditions, affordability and fuel poverty exacerbate poor health.