A study published last year which showed that Northerners die much younger than their Southern neighbours prompted a few predictable headlines of outrage, and then fizzled away without any policy follow-ups.

But new research out this week which demonstrates for the first time that the North of England’s poorer health can be directly linked to the region’s poorer wealth is so startling that only the most cynical would be able to ignore its findings.

More pertinently, the research shows that tackling the ill-health of those who live in the North could generate an extra £13.2bn for the economy.