Boris slammed for saying 'never mind' about cancer death rates

Boris Johnson has come under fire for saying wage growth is a more important metric to measure ‘levelling up’ than cancer rates and life expectancy.

The Prime Minister has long promised to ‘level up’ the UK. When asked how he would determine whether his policies were closing inequality gaps, he said to ‘never mind’ health benchmarks.

He told the BBC on Friday: ‘I’ve given you the most important metric – never mind life expectancy, never mind cancer outcomes – look at wage growth.

‘Wage growth is now being experienced faster by those on lower incomes. It hasn’t happened for 10 years or more.

‘That is what I mean by levelling up.’

The Labour MP for Leicester South said: ‘If cancer incidence and survival rates across the poorest matched the wealthier there would be 19,000 fewer deaths per year. Life expectancy has stalled for those in the poorest areas.

‘There is no levelling up without levelling up health. It’s now clearer than ever that all Boris Johnson offers is just glib words and no action.

Shadow Child Poverty Secretary Wes Streeting, who is recovering from kidney cancer, said: ‘“Never mind cancer outcomes” I do, as it happens. So do millions of others. This is stomach-turning, insightful and outrageous.’

Leader of the Scottish National Party (SNP) in the House of Commons Ian Blackford said: ‘”Never mind life expectancy never mind cancer outcomes” says @BorisJohnson.

‘Every citizen should see this insight into the thinking of our PM. It does not have to be this way for Scotland, we have an alternative to this man who is literally prepared to sacrifice our health.’

He told The Independent: ‘Any measure of “levelling up” for our country must focus on urgent progress for people facing delayed cancer care, poorer cancer experience or outcomes.’

The Prime Minister’s comments come just before the Conservative Party Conference starts on Sunday in Manchester.

It will run until Wednesday and will end with Mr Johnson’s keynote speech. has contacted Number 10 for comment.

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