Press releases

Leaders in impact investment & public health launch new UK health equity network to tackle worsening health inequalities and life expectancy

25 Jan 2023

Amidst dual cost-of-living and energy crises, leading global investor and UK financial services group, Legal & General, and world-leading public health specialist, Professor Sir Michael Marmot, are launching the Health Equity Network (HEN) to help employers, local authorities, and voluntary groups ease health-related crises including rising child poverty, increasing health inequalities, and falling life expectancy.

The HEN aims to roll out practical solutions to reduce health inequalities, and will help organisations and individuals across the public, private, and third sectors to connect and collaborate with those working towards similar health equity goals. It will offer opportunities to share work and knowledge and for members to engage with others across the country. Interested groups and individuals can sign up to join the network from today.

John Godfrey, Director of Levelling Up at Legal & General:

“National government and the NHS demonstrably cannot solve this problem unaided. There is a huge and complementary role for business, both as employers and providers of goods and services, as well as for local government and the third sector.  Our work with Michael Marmot aims to uncover synergies across these sectors, strengthen the research base and foster best practice.  That way we can bring vital investment to bear on the social causes of health inequalities and drive better outcomes.”

Professor Sir Michael Marmot, CH, Director, UCL Institute of Health Equity, who was conferred the prestigious Companion of Honour by His Majesty the King in this year’s New Years Honours for his life-time achievement in public health:

“Society is not working for 40% of people in England: almost one in three (31%) children are living in poverty – that’s 4.3 million children, that are being failed; the cost-of-living crisis means people can’t afford to eat or heat their home; and those working in the public sector are being told they have to work for less money. The impact on health is catastrophic – we know what to do and many places are taking the initiative in the face of national government inaction.

We would like national government to reduce child poverty and reverse the fall in life expectancy in poorer areas. There is little sign of it happening. The network though enables cities and regions to share knowledge and experience on their work with local government, healthcare, housing, the criminal justice system, fire and rescue services, education, community groups and business to engage all these sectors to improve the conditions of life, which will translate into better life and narrower health inequalities.”

IHE has worked with over 30 local authorities to provide detailed practical ways forward to reduce health inequalities, despite the challenges of cost-of-living and funding cuts and the lack of government action and support. In 2022, in partnership with Legal & General (L&G), it launched The Business of Health Equity: The Marmot Review for Industry, which sets out three ways that business can improve people’s lives by reducing health inequality.

L&G is committed to providing vital research into the role of businesses and employers in tackling health inequality, by addressing the environmental and social factors which can lead to improved long-term outcomes. For example, in addition to its partnership with the UCL IHE, Legal & General commissioned research in partnership with the charity Tavistock Relationships: ‘Working Well: Delivering Better Outcomes for Hidden Workers’ calls on business to help tackle health inequality, proactively addressing the health and wellbeing gap across the UK. Based on this research, L&G has introduced a series of commitments to reduce health inequalities and improve the quality of life for the ‘hidden workforce’ across its real estate portfolio, demonstrating the crucial role business can play in building a fairer, healthier society.

Individuals and organisations interested in joining the Health Equity Network can sign up here:

Further information

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Hannah Ritchie

Senior PR Executive

Legal & General Capital

T: +44 (0) 7904 404 439

Email Hannah Ritchie

Notes to editors

Established in 1836, Legal & General is one of the UK's leading financial services groups and a major global investor, with £1.2 trillion in total assets under management1 of which 40% is international. We have a unique and highly synergistic business model, which continues to drive strong returns. Legal & General provides powerful asset origination and management capabilities directly to clients, which also underpin our leading retirement and protection solutions. We are a leading international player in Pension Risk Transfer, in UK and US life insurance, and in UK workplace pensions and retirement income. Our purpose is to improve the lives of our customers and create value for our shareholders. Through inclusive capitalism, we are investing in long-term assets, such as real estate and infrastructure, that can help build a better society for the future.

1Data as at 31 December 2023.