THE wealthiest women in Barnsley are living almost a decade longer than the poorest females, new figures have revealed.

New analysis by academics from the Institute of Health Equity at University College London shows the difference in life expectancy of the least and most deprived female residents in Barnsley has grown by 2.3 years, from 6.3 in 2010-12 to 8.6 in 2017-19.

This period was used because it was before the coronavirus pandemic, which substantially altered life expectancy figures.

However, the gap between the richest and poorest male residents has remained broadly the same.

It comes as leading health professional Sir Michael Marmot has written to dozens of MPs in the worst-affected areas, including former Prime Minister Liz Truss, Levelling Up Secretary Michael Gove and former Health Secretary Steve Barclay.

He said: “Put simply, Britain is a poor, sick country, getting sicker, with a few rich and healthy people - the results of a dismal failure of central government policies since 2010.

“Not only is health the foremost concern of your local constituents, communities and businesses, health is also an indicator of how well a nation is performing.

“Unfortunately, Britain is performing poorly.”

He has also written to the leaders of all major political parties demanding action.

Sir Michael added: “This is a dismal state of affairs. I’m saying to party leader: make this the central plank of the next government - stop policies harming health and widening health inequalities.

“To MPs - if you care about the health of your constituents, you must be appalled by their deteriorating health.

“It’s time for action and political leadership across the board.”

The analysis also shows Barnsley Council’s spending power declined by 36 per cent in real terms from 2010/11 and 2020/21, when factoring in council tax rises and central government funding.

A government spokesperson said: “As set out in our Levelling Up White Paper, we are committed to narrowing the gap in healthy life expectancy by 2030 and to increasing healthy life expectancy by five years by 2035.

“Our upcoming Major Conditions Strategy will help us do this, by tackling the key drivers of ill-health in England.

“We are also investing £15bn in local communities across the UK as part of our long-term plan to level up, ensure opportunity is spread more equally and to reduce inequalities.”

Barnsley Central MP Dan Jarvis told the Chronicle the ‘shocking statistics’ show the government must do more to support Barnsley’s residents.

He added: “Where you grow up shouldn’t determine your life chances.

“These shocking statistics have brought the structural health inequalities that we have been dealing with for generations back into the spotlight.

“The government should be doing much more to address these alarming health inequalities, particularly given the clear benefits of having a healthier and happier population.”