Blackpool is a "hotspot" for inequality and mortality says Nobel Prize winner

Professor Sir Angus Deaton
Professor Sir Angus Deaton
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Blackpool is a "hotspot" for deaths from suicide, drugs, and alcohol, a Nobel Prize winning economist has said.

Speaking at the launch of a major new research project into inequality by the Institute for Fiscal Studies, Professor Sir Angus Deaton highlighted Blackpool as an example of how geographical differences affect poverty.

Referring to social problems like drug and alcohol deaths, and suicide, Deaton told The Guardian, "Blackpool seems to be a hotspot and the north east, but not very much in London."

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The professor, who won a Nobel Prize in 2015, is heading the new study which aims: "not just to describe inequalities...but to understand what causes them and to offer concrete policy proposals to tackle them."

Research suggests that for the lowest-earning working households in the UK, income has barely risen since the 1990s, while the wealthiest 1% of households have seen their share of the nation's income almost triple since the 1970s - from 3% to 8%.

Deaton said: "I think that people getting rich is a good thing, especially when it brings prosperity to others."

"But," he warned, "the other kind of getting rich, “taking” rather than “making”, rent-seeking rather than creating, enriching the few at the expense of the many, taking the free out of free markets, is making a mockery of democracy."

"In that world, inequality and misery are intimate companions."