Thatcherite policies ‘have made us sick’

‘Thatcherite’ policies have caused ‘epidemics’ in obesity, stress, austerity and inequality, according to a new book by public health experts.

The authors of the book, from Durham University, argue that the UK’s neoliberal politics, often associated with the economic policies introduced by Margaret Thatcher in the 1980s, have increased inequalities and literally made people sick.

They suggest that the epidemics could have been prevented, or at least been reduced in scale, through alternative political and economic choices such as fairer and more progressive taxation, strengthened social protection and reduced spending on warheads.

The public health researchers are calling on the new Government to take drastic action to ensure a decent living wage, a fair welfare system and an end to privatisation within the NHS.

The book, ‘How Politics Makes Us Sick’, is due to be published by Palgrave Macmillan on May 20.

The authors, Professors Clare Bambra and Ted Schrecker, show that the rise of precarious jobs and zero-hours contracts has led to an epidemic of insecurity and chronic stress, and austerity measures have widened the gap between rich and poor with destructive consequences for health.

 They also highlight scientific evidence connecting the epidemic of obesity, which has doubled in the UK over the last 30 years, with the epidemic of insecurity that followed the neoliberal transformation of labour markets.

The book points out that the rising economic inequality is resulting in a growing health gap between the most and least deprived ten per cent of local authority districts in England, which is now larger than at any point since before the Great Depression.

Co-author Clare Bambra, professor of public health geography and director of the Centre for Health and Inequalities Research at Durham University, said:

Our findings show that modern-day ‘Thatcherism’ has made us fat, stressed, insecure and ill. These neoliberal policies are dominating the globe and they are often presented as our only option but they have devastating effects on our health.

 “What we need is a political cure in the form of a revitalised and social democratic welfare state in which workers have a living wage, the welfare system means that people are not below the breadline, and the market is removed from our public services such as the NHS.”
Source – Northern Echo, 15 May 2015


  1. Pingback: Thatcherite policies ‘have made us sick’ | Williamgh's Blog
  2. Chris

    Great. But the voters did not vote for the socialist parties in anything more than micro party voting numbers, even though they were offering an end to hunger, homelessness and the end of the state pension from 2016.

    The Naitonal Health Action party did not even win in Stafford, where a few days after general election, yet another ward, this time the children’s ward closed. Even after the first incident of a baby being born on the way to another hospital, far ot the north, on the hard shoulder of a main road en route.

    So write books, talk, debate. And still leave a yawning gap in England for a party that is not the extreme socialism that offered communism too soon and got nowhere in the elections.

    Needed is young feet to give legs to a new party in England only to counter Labour and The Greens being pro austerity wherever they have been in charge.

    If interested say so here, or in a blog on my little free website I got a few pages of through

    I can write up the party. It is up to you to make it happen.

    Who knows, we may yet get another general election in 2016?

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