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Record infant mortality rise hits country’s poorest parts

POORER areas have suffered an ‘unprecedented rise’ in infant mortality in the last five years, a new report reveals.

While more affluent regions of England were ‘unaffected’, there has been a ‘sustained’ yearly increase of 24 infant deaths per 100,000 live births in the most deprived parts of the country between 2014 and 2017.

Liverpool University’s Prof David Taylor-Robinson said the analysis suggested about a third of the increase in those years may be attributed to rising child poverty.

‘These findings are really concerning given that child poverty is rising,’ he said.

‘It is time for the government to reverse this trend establishing a welfare system that protects children from poverty.’

The research, published in BMJ Open, found there were 572 more infant deaths in the three years between 2014 and 2017 than would have been previously expected based on trends.

Helen Barnard, of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, said wealth disparities impacted on mortality rates throughout children’s lives.

‘We cannot stand by while a child born in the wealthiest parts of our country can expect nearly two decades longer of healthy life than a child born in the most deprived parts. We need to see action to solve poverty,’ she added.