This report has been produced by the UCL Institute of Health Equity and commissioned by the Health Foundation as part of its COVID-19 impact inquiry to investigate how the pandemic has affected health inequalities in England.

The report highlights that:

  • inequalities in social and economic conditions before the pandemic contributed to the high and unequal death toll from COVID-19
  • the nation’s health should be the highest priority for government as we rebuild from the pandemic
  • the economy and health are strongly linked – managing the pandemic well allows the economy to flourish in the longer term, which is supportive of health
  • reducing health inequalities, including those exacerbated by the pandemic requires long-term policies with equity at the heart
  • to build back fairer from the pandemic, multi-sector action from all levels of government is needed
  • investment in public health needs to be increased to mitigate the impact of the pandemic on health and health inequalities, and on the social determinants of health.

Read the Health Foundation's full response


As part of its COVID-19 impact inquiry, the Health Foundation commissioned the UCL Institute of Health Equity to investigate how the pandemic has affected health inequalities in England.

The review and its recommendations follow on from Health Equity in England: The Marmot Review 10 Years On, published in February 2020.

The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed and amplified the inequalities highlighted in February’s report. The economic harm caused by measures to control the virus also risk further damage to health and widening of health inequalities.

Led by Professor Sir Michael Marmot, Build Back Fairer explores:

  • inequalities in death rates from COVID-19, and how some groups and areas have been affected more than others
  • the effect of measures to contain the virus on social and economic inequalities and on mental and physical wellbeing
  • what needs to be done to build back fairer.

Find out more

To hear more about the Health Foundation's COVID-19 impact inquiry, you can sign up to receive updates.

The COVID-19 impact inquiry

Research report

Unequal pandemic, fairer recovery

July 2021
Research report

A comprehensive review of the factors that affected the UK’s devastating COVID-19 death toll.


COVID-19 impact inquiry


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Generation COVID-19

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Health Equity in England: The Marmot Review 10 Years On

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