Tagged: Jim Beall

Life expectancy shock: Men in central Stockton expected to live 16 YEARS less than in other areas

A shocking gap between the life expectancy of men and women in Stockton is being investigated by health chiefs.

It comes after a stark report last week revealed Stockton Borough now has the greatest inequality in male life expectancy in the country – and the gap has widened in recent years.

Though life expectancy is increasing as a whole, the gap between the most deprived and most affluent wards in the borough is increasing.

A man can now expect to live 16.4 years less in Stockton town centre – the most deprived ward in the borough – compared to a man in Eaglescliffe, among the most affluent areas.

But the gap for women is considerably less at 11 years.

Councillor Steve Nelson Stockton Council’s Cabinet member for housing and community safety, said:

“It’s not happening with women.

“Do we understand why men and women are so different?”

Peter Kelly, director of Public Health for Stockton and the author of the public health annual report for 2013/14, told a cabinet meeting that “it is very unusual there is such a gap”.

“With regard to women, we need to understand why the same hasn’t happened there – is it heart disease? Is it cancer?

“That’s a separate issue we are investigating.”

As reported, Mr Kelly’s health study revealed the life expectancy of men living in the poorest parts of Stockton has barely improved since the 1930s.

In stark contrast, life expectancy in areas like Eaglescliffe is as good as in the most affluent parts of the country.

Councillor Jim Beall, deputy leader of the council, said:

“We can dwell on that and say ‘shock, horror’, but on an average people are living longer in the borough.

“It is quite shocking information, it’s what we’re going to do about it that is the important question.

“We do something everywhere, but we do more where there’s more need.”

Council leader Councillor Bob Cook said:

“We have got a diverse borough – the worst wards are in the top 10% nationally, the affluent wards at the other end.

“It does show we have done quite a lot of work to bridge that gap, but quite a bit of work is needed to make sure deprived wards catch up.”

Source – Middlesbrough Evening Gazette, 16 Feb 2015

Stockton Borough Council brands benefit sanctions as “cynical” and call on Government for urgent review

 

An impassioned debate over claims that strict sanctions on benefits claimants are causing severe poverty ended with Stockton Borough Council passing a motion criticising Government policy.

The motion called for a review of the Department for Work and Pensions‘ (DWP) sanctions where benefits claimants, including those on Job Seekers Allowance, who miss an appointment or is late can be left without any money at all for five to six weeks.

Several councillors speaking at the authority’s full council meeting said they had examples of where the policy was being used “unfairly” while deputy leader Jim Beall branded it as a “deliberate, cynical measure” to alter the unemployment statistics.

However Conservative councillor Andrew Stephenson argued against the motion saying the sanctions helped people back to work.

The motion concluded:

“The Council resolves to write to our MPs requesting that they raise this deplorable situation with the responsible Minister urging an immediate review of national policy and guidance on sanctioning.”

Council leader Bob Cook told of a case where a young man got a letter informing him of a morning appointment but didn’t receive it until the afternoon and lost his benefit.

 Cllr Michael Clark said he knew of a case where a claimant lost benefit for attending the funeral of a grandparent.

Meanwhile Cllr Norma Stephenson said she knew of 19 families on the Hardwick estate who had been sanctioned while Cllr Barry Woodhouse cited the case of a Billingham resident who lost her disability benefit for having zero points, only for a review to say she had 33 points.

Cllr Eileen Johnson said she had a friend working for the DWP who told her staff had been in tears “because they can’t bear what they are doing.”

> But they carry on doing it nevertheless…

Cllr Norma Wilburn said she had heard a national story on the radio about an amputee who had lost his benefit because he couldn’t answer the phone. She said: “This seems like a coordinated attack on the vulnerable. This is evil.”

Cllr Mark Chatburn, Ukip, said the policy was “deliberate” and “the epitome of nasty.

> This from the representive of a party who’s members have called for the unemployed to be denied the vote and banned from owning cars.

 But Conservative councillor Andrew Stephenson pointed out that people in work who didn’t turn up or were late could get sacked. He said: “The state now looks to get people off benefits and back into work. There are 50,000 people who have recently left the unemployment register.”
> No, The state now looks to get people off benefits  by any means, and bugger the consequences.

The motion was passed and Stockton’s two MPs, Alex Cunningham, Labour, and James Wharton, Conservative, will be contacted by the council.

Source –  Northern Echo,  22 Jan 2015