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Last Updated: Thursday, 6 November, 2003, 12:00 GMT
Mancunians 'have shortest lives'
Manchester's Exchange Square
The figures show Manchester men live for five years less
People from Manchester have the lowest life expectancy in England and Wales, according to new figures.

Government statistics show that on average men live for five years less and women are three years younger when they die, compared to ages for the two countries as a whole.

Men from Rutland can expect to live the longest, according to the figures, while women in Kensington and Chelsea, London, have the highest life expectancy.

Rural areas like the New Forest, North Dorset and South Cambridgeshire all have high life expectancies, while urban areas such as Blackpool and Liverpool have the lowest.

The figures were calculated by the Office for National Statistics over a three year period, from 2000 to 2002.

In Manchester men can expect, on average, to reach the age of 71, compared to 75.9 in England and Wales, while women reach 77.3, whereas the average for the two countries is 80.6.

In Rutland however, on average men reach the age of 79.5 and women in Kensington and Chelsea survive for just over 84 years.

Paul Burstow, Liberal Democrat health spokesman, said "This shocking gap between the lowest and highest life expectancy in the country must be a wake up call to ministers that this government has let health inequalities slip down the agenda.

"There is evidence here of not just a North/South divide but a number of different divides: rural versus urban areas, and rich versus poor especially in terms of health inequalities.

"A top priority for the Department of Health has to be tackling the root causes of ill-health, not just treating the symptoms."

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