Table 1

Typology of four policy scenarios of health inequalities reduction, classified by focus of reduction and extent of benefits, with examples of policies

Inequality reduction focus
Benefits to social groups
 Selective1 Targeted interventions on worst-off only
  1. Area-based initiatives: deprived neighbourhoods renewal, early childhood development local programmes, Health Action Zones16–18

  2. Home-visiting programmes on early childhood health and development for high-risk social groups19

  3. Raising minimum pensions, minimum income for healthy living initiatives

3 ‘Redistributive’ policy
  1. Progressive taxation systems28

  2. Social housing and other non-targeted, means-tested social services or subsidies25

  3. Security income for the elderly and other cash transfer programmes26 27

 Universal2 Universal policy with additional focus on gap
  1. Universal smoking cessation programme with a priority on Health Action Zones23

  2. Increasing childcare places overall, concentrating most of them in the most disadvantaged wards24

4 Proportionate universalism
  1. Public, universal healthcare system

  2. Needs-based geographical allocation of services34–36

  3. Population-based cancer screening programmes29

  4. Psychosocial workplace interventions32

  5. Widespread introduction of traffic calming areas33