This site is intended for health professionals only

Further pensions hits, liver disease deaths increase and why it pays to be a manly man

Today brings us news on the Government’s latest drive to cut the country’s deficit with Chancellor George Osborne’s plans to cut tax relief on pensions for high earners.

The Daily Mail says that the Treasury is reported to be eying a raid on tax breaks on pension contributions in a bid to raise hundreds of millions of pounds.

In his first budget in 2010, Mr Osborne reduced the maximum amount someone can put into their pension tax free each year from £255,000 to £50,000.

But the idea to go even further is ‘on the table’.  Reducing the threshold to £40,000 could raised £600million for Treasury coffers while lowering it to £30,000 would raise £1.8billion.

Meanwhile, England has seen deaths from liver disease increase by a fifth over the last decade in direct contrast to other European countries and is facing a rising tide of fatal liver disease fuelled by obesity, alcohol and preventable infections, the Chief Medical Officer has warned.

Professor Dame Sally Davies, chief medical officer for England, said one of the main problems was a drinking culture that needed to change.

“Our alcohol consumption is out of kilter with most of the civilised world.”

“We really have young people that binge drink and drink too much and it is damaging their livers young.

An article in the Daily Telegraph says that deaths from liver disease have increased by a fifth between 2000 and 2009, while they have dropped by around the same amount in most comparable European countries.   It quotes from the CMO’s report which also found that liver disease and cirrhosis now kills 16 people in every 100,000. 

And finally the BBC reports on Swedish experts who tracked more than a million teenage boys for 24 years and found those with low muscle strength - weaker leg and arm muscles and a limp grip - were at increased risk of early death.

The teenagers who scored above average on muscular strength at the start of the study had a 20-35 per cent lower risk of early death from any cause and also from cardiovascular diseases.

In comparison, the 16- to 19-year-olds with the lowest level of muscular strength had the highest risk of dying before they reached their mid-50s.