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General Election 2024 Longevity Policies

What are the main political parties offering longevity enthusiasts in this year’s UK general election?
Published 16-Jun-2024 (last updated 18-Jun-2024)
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The UK goes to the polls on Thursday 4th July 2024, to elect its new government. Everybody has their own priorities for what they want the next administrators to deliver, such as taxes, immigration, and the environment. And a growing proportion of the population are happy to be fluid with their vote rather than commit lifelong support to a particular political party. Voters will select their candidate based on their party’s policies in areas that matter most to them, and these areas can change over time.

What if healthcare, and particularly living longer, healthier lives, is your top priority? Beyond saying just how important the NHS is, what do the main political parties have to offer you?

In this blog, I look at the health-related policies that have been published in the major parties’ manifestos. Much more may be said in interviews and written on posters, but it’s what is in the manifesto that counts – it’s what they are committing to implementing if they win the election.

Jump to policy summary table.

What policies would the Live Forever Club like to see?

We don’t yet know the exact path to radical life extension, so we’ll need to make progress is several areas to give us a chance of reaching longevity escape velocity.

Here are the main areas where governments could make a difference:

  • research funding – to help discover true age-reversal therapies
  • regulations – to help biotechnology companies deliver new pharmaceuticals
  • healthcare – to tackle today’s diseases until tomorrow’s technologies arrive
  • public health – making it easier for everyone to live a healthier, delaying the onset of disease

Research Funding

The first priority should surely be increasing funding on ageing research and longevity therapeutics. Even though ageing is a significant factor in heart disease, cancer and dementia, it receives limited funds of its own. And given Professor Andrew Scott’s forecast that increasing healthy lifespan by 1 year would result in a 4% increase to GDP, we could invest billions every year and still get a massive return on investment (ROI). Unfortunately, it currently receives just a few million pounds.

Here a few specific ideas for how more money for research could be used:

  • determine genetic factors that influence ageing and longevity
  • improved gene editing technologies like CRISPR 
  • new treatments for age-related diseases
  • develop standard biological age clocks for use in clinical trials
  • better understanding of the biology of ageing

I’m not expecting this level of detail in the manifestoes, but the last bullet point could be expanded to cover research into cellular processes such as telomere shortening, DNA repair mechanisms, and cellular senescence to develop interventions that can delay ageing at the molecular level. Even if it doesn’t result in greater maximum lifespans, increased research into anti-ageing therapies will benefit other medical fields.

As well as money, longevity research needs more attention and multidisciplinary partnerships. Perhaps a European Institute for Rejuvenation Research, as proposed by the German Party for Medical Rejuvenation Research, could help. And we don’t have to be in the EU to participate in European institutions.


The problem with wanting to spend more money on longevity research is that everybody else is competing for the same funds. Even though the long-term return on investment would be huge, there is only so much money today to go around. The leaders are asked repeatedly during the campaign where the money is coming from and will it result in more taxes or cuts elsewhere?

Fortunately, not all changes need taxpayers’ money. Here’s a few regulatory changes that could help the longevity industry that wouldn’t need government funding:

  • streamline regulatory approval processes for promising anti-ageing treatments
  • facilitate partnerships between academia and the private sector to accelerate research and development in longevity science
  • engage the public in discussions about the goals and implications of longevity research to ensure that policies reflect societal values and priorities.
  • start to establish frameworks to address the ethical implications of extending maximum lifespan, guaranteeing fair access to rejuvenation treatments
  • insist that all clinical trials should make their data freely available for research, including publication of negative results

Setting targets is another way of making a public announcement of your intentions, even if the detail of how to get there is missing initially. Here are the sort of long-term targets it would be great to see:

  • life expectancy to increase by at least 1.5 years over the 5 year parliament
  • healthspan should never be more than a year below global best practice (the UK is currently 5 years below)
  • paperless NHS to enable greater datamining of electronic health records to support medical research 


There are plenty of arguments about how the NHS should be structured to improve its efficiency, but generally speaking, it’s probably going to need more funding to make sure we can live long enough to live forever. Today we need to make sure everyone gets rapid treatment, particularly for life-threatening diseases such as cancer, so that patients are still alive as regenerative therapies start to arrive over the next decade.

As well as more GPs and other healthcare workers, and more modern equipment, the NHS needs to change to providing life-long healthcare, not ‘sick care’ where you have to wait until you’re ill to be treated.

In other words, we need preventative medicine by pivoting from a reactive to a proactive healthcare model:

  • larger proportion of NHS budget spent on prevention (the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Longevity called for it to be 15% by 2035)
  • introduce regular health screenings and early intervention programs
  • develop personalised medicine approaches that tailor interventions to an individual's genetic and biochemical profile to maximise longevity

Public health

Finally, let’s look at how the government could encourage healthier behaviours, and a healthier environment, to stop people getting sick in the first place. This isn’t about building a nanny-state, but counterbalancing the constant bombardment of adverts which are trying to make companies’ profits rather than their consumers healthier. The International Longevity Centre UK’s 2023 white paper found that 40% of ill health and premature mortality in England is linked to preventable factors.

Public education and regulations to support the message could have a massive impact on the health of the nation. Here’s a few areas that could improve health and life expectancy:

  • improved air quality - air pollution is linked to a wide range of health conditions
  • continue to discourage new smokers and help those who want to quit
  • promote healthy eating, such as subsidies for fruits and vegetables, clearer nutritional labelling, and restrictions on junk food advertising, especially to children
  • robust public education campaigns about the dangers of excessive drinking
  • create and maintain parks and green spaces to encourage physical activity and provide mental health benefits
  • invest in infrastructure to promote walking and cycling
  • support local sports clubs and recreation centres to make physical activity more accessible

What longevity policies are the main UK political parties offering?

I’ve examined the manifestos of the main UK-wide policies (Conservatives, Labour, Liberal Democrats) to assess how longevity friendly they are. Apologies to other parties (such as Greens, Reform and SNP) which I didn’t have time to look at.

I’ve generally ignored anything that says they will “look into,” “do more research,” or “investigate” – as, cynical as many are nowadays, it’s unlikely that all the specific commitments will happen, let alone policies they haven’t even come up with yet.

Research Funding

None of the parties mentioned ageing research specifically. Labour and Lib Dems do mention an ageing population but from the perspective of healthy ageing, rather than tackling the underlying causes of ageing. Though Conservatives and Lib Dems did mention research into specific age-related diseases (e.g. Parkinson’s and cancer). Those two parties also mentioned increasing R&D budgets generally.


Good news in this area. As therapeutics that work significantly better than old drugs are developed it will be important make those available to patients as soon as possible, and all the manifestoes include improving regulatory processes to speed up the time it takes to get new medicines to market.

Liberal Democrats have the best longevity target from the main parties – to provide five more years of healthspan. Even if initially we don’t live radically longer lives, I think most people would like to experience more of it in good health. Maybe not coincidentally, this is the same amount as the UK is currently behind best practice life expectancy.

Labour’s target aligns nicely with the club’s motto, equality in longevity, in that they aim to halve the gap in healthy life expectancy between the poorest and richest.


Unsurprisingly, all the parties mainly focus on immediate healthcare – staffing levels, waiting lists, etc. – rather than something as niche as life extension. According to the Nuffield Trust, healthcare in the UK is funded at a lower level than comparable countries, with Statista reporting that France spends 21% more and Germany 46% per person than the UK. So even basic healthcare provision could do with a boost. 

The political parties all commit to more GPs – as they are the gatekeepers to more specialist secondary care, it’s important the everyone can see a GP promptly to decide what treatment is needed. There is then a mishmash of commitments on budgets, waiting lists, more nurses and replacing old equipment, all basically saying they will spend more on the NHS than currently. This sounds good, as even if the NHS can be made more efficient than it is currently, more money on top of that would allow it to do even more.

It was good to see Conservatives and Labour both mentioning artificial intelligence (AI) in their manifestoes. Nothing specific beyond “free up doctors’ time” and “transform the speed and accuracy of diagnostic services,” though these are exactly where AI could help, allowing staff to spend more time interacting with patients.

What about preventative medicine? Disappointingly, there was very little mention made about preventative medicine which could really transform the health of the nation. Labour say they are going to explore it, Lib Dems want to provide more blood pressure tests (important, given it is a risk factor for many diseases), and Conservatives are looking to introduce digital health checks. Regular health checks would be a good start – eventually with an annual MOT for the body – why don’t we look after our bodies as well as we do our cars?!

Public health

Educating the public about healthy lifestyles may not be the most glamourous of health jobs. But, whereas a surgeon may save an individual’s life there and then, convincing millions of people to make a small changes to their lifestyle decisions can have a much greater impact on the health of the nation overall.

Conservatives and Labour both commit to introducing legislation to prevent anyone born before 2009 ever buying cigarettes. This has wide support in the houses of parliament but didn’t have time to proceed when the general election was called.

The word “diet” doesn’t appear once in any of the manifestoes, though all of the parties are looking to ban junk food advertising to children. And as for alcohol, which scientists are realising has no safe limit but restricting it would probably not be a vote winner, it’s not mentioned either.

And for things we can’t, personally, do anything about? Air pollution is a serious health risk, but it wasn’t mentioned by Conservatives or Labour. Only the Liberal Democrats committed to tackling air quality with a Clean Air Act.

Summary table

Below is a summary of the health-related policies presented in each party’s manifesto. Note that some policy areas are devolved to the nation states (Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales) so some of these pledges would apply to England only.

Conservatives Labour Liberal Democrats
Research Funding
Research funding (all industries) Increase   public spending on R&D to £22 billion a year, up from £20 billion this year. Back what makes Britain great: our excellent research institutions. Aiming for at least 3% of GDP to be invested in research and development by 2030.
Medical Research Support research into new treatments, including for Parkinson’s and motor neurone disease. Not mentioned Ensure funding for research into the cancers with the lowest survival rates. Support science, research and innovation, particularly … medical technologies.
(Healthy) Ageing Not mentioned Explore how we best manage and support an ageing population. Establish a Commissioner for Older People and Ageing.
Longevity research (e.g. biotechnology) Not mentioned Not mentioned Not mentioned
Pharmaceutical industry / medical regulations Remove bureaucratic obstacles to the use of new medicines. Secure more commercial clinical trials. Reformed incentive structures to drive innovation and faster regulatory approval for new technology and medicines. Clinical trials: making the process more efficient and accessible. Halving the time for new treatments to reach patients. Improve faster access to new and novel medicines and medical devices.
Life expectancy/ healthspan targets Not mentioned Halve the gap in healthy life expectancy between the richest and poorest regions. Help people to spend five more years of their life in good health.
NHS spending (Nuffield Trust analysis) 0.9% real terms annual increase 1.1% real terms annual increase 1.5% real terms annual increase
GPs and primary care Build or modernise 250 GP surgeries. Expand Pharmacy First. Build 50 more Community Diagnostic Centres. Train thousands more GPs. Create a Community Pharmacist Prescribing Service. Increase the number of GPs by 8,000. More prescribing rights to qualified pharmacists, nurse practitioners and paramedics.
NHS equipment Replace tens of thousands of outdated computers. Double the number of cancer scanners. Replace ageing radiotherapy machines and increasing their number.
Artificial intelligence (AI) Use AI to free up doctors’ and nurses’ time for frontline patient care. We will harness the power of technologies like AI to transform the speed and accuracy of diagnostic services. Not mentioned
Age-related diseases Publish and implement a Major Conditions Strategy to prevent these conditions from occurring and ensure those living with them receive the best possible care. Deliver a renewed drive to tackle the biggest killers; cutting the lives lost to cancer, cardiovascular disease and suicide. Put Britain at the forefront of transforming treatment for dementia. Guarantee for 100% of patients to start treatment for cancer within 62 days from urgent referral. Launch a new prostate cancer screening programme for those at higher risk.
Preventative medicine Digital health checks to 250,000 more people every year. We will explore … how to move to a more preventative system. Improve access to blood pressure tests.
Public Health
Air pollution Not mentioned Not mentioned Tackling air pollution and poor air quality in public buildings with a Clean Air Act.
Smoking Bring forward our landmark Tobacco and Vapes Bill. Next generation can never legally buy cigarettes. Halt the dangerous use of vapes by children. New levy on tobacco company profits.
Diet Legislate to restrict the advertising of products high in fat, salt and sugar. Ban advertising junk food to children. Restrict junk food advertising. Extending the soft drinks levy.



I wasn’t really expecting to see anything specifically about longevity, let alone radical life extension, but the limited acknowledgement of preventative medicine was a bit disappointing.

On the positive side, there was a general consensus to increase research budgets (even if not specifically in healthcare) and to make it easier to bring new medicines to market. And even the very tentative mention of early diagnostics and regular checkups is a step in the right direction, a step that could be the first on a long path to longevity healthcare where the NHS tries to prevent us getting diseases rather than waiting until we’re already broken.

It should be another 5 years before the next general election in the UK, and it will be interesting to see what changes in that time. If we’ve had a few treatments proven to slow, or even reverse, biological ageing in the clinic by then, then perhaps politicians will be forced to start thinking about the consequences and hopefully respond to a growing demand by the general public for longer, healthier lives.

Blog written by Adrian Cull.


UK healthcare spending – Statista
How much spending on the NHS have the major parties committed to in their election manifestos? – Nuffield Trust

General Election 2024 Longevity Policies

Mentioned in this blog post:

Click on resource name for more details.

All Party Parliamentary Group for Longevity (APPG)

Group to address UK govt HLE +5 target

International Longevity Centre UK

UK’s specialist think tank on the impact of longevity on society, and what happens next

Nuffield Trust

Independent health charity based in the UK

Topics mentioned on this page:
Policy, Longevity Healthcare

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