Newcastle North MP Catherine McKinnell has urged the Government to use the Levelling Up fund to address health inequalities as we recover from the pandemic.
During Housing, Communities and Local Government Questions, Catherine stated that “Health inequalities are a clear and persistent indicator of the growing gap between and within regions”
She further highlighted Swim England’s projections that due to the pandemic “by 2026 just 35% of children in the most deprived areas will meet the required standard on swimming when they leave primary school, compared to 77% in the most affluent areas” and that “over 400 fitness and leisure facilities permanently closed since last March including West Denton Swimming Pool in my constituency”.
The Newcastle North MP called on Ministers to “use the Levelling up Fund to address these glaring inequalities” and the Government should “make a great start by backing Newcastle City Council’s levelling-up fund bid to develop a new, state-of-the-art, net zero carbon swimming and leisure development in the Outer West of Newcastle”.
Following the question, Catherine commented:
“The Government has promised to help us emerge from the pandemic as a healthier country and reducing health inequalities is an essential part of that.
“But we have already seen areas facing some of the country’s biggest health challenges, like West Denton, lose their local swimming facilities due to the impact of the pandemic. With Swim England forecasting that children living in deprived areas will struggle to meet national standards on swimming ability, this is a major step backwards.
“That’s why I’m backing Newcastle City Council’s bid to develop a new, state-of-the-art, net zero carbon swimming and leisure development that would improve health and wellbeing outcomes across the Outer West of Newcastle and help narrow health inequalities”.