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Life expectancy growth continues to stall

Most deprived men live nine fewer years than the least deprived

The growth in life expectancy in the UK is continuing to stall, official figures reveal.

Data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) shows British people born between 2016 and 2018 are expected to live up to 4.2 weeks longer than those born in 2015-17.

The improvement in life expectancy between 2016 and 2018 was 4.7 weeks for men and 3.1 weeks for women – far lower than 15.4 and 10.9 week increases in the corresponding periods a decade ago.

Life expectancy at birth is now 79.3 years for men, and 82.9 years for women.

David Sinclair, director of the International Longevity Centre UK, said there is no simple answer as to why life expectancy growth is moving at a slower pace than a decade ago.

“Some argue government austerity or the social care crisis are to blame, others point to a slowdown in improvements to certain age-related diseases,” he said.

The figures also reveal inequalities in life expectancy, with the most deprived group of men living nine fewer years than the least deprived. Despite a shorter life expectancy, they also spend more time in poor health.

“The government’s target of five extra healthy, independent years of life by 2035 looks and feels a long way off today,” argued Sinclair.

He added that the social care system is failing older people whilst younger people are saving too little for old age.