We live in one of the most unequal countries in Europe in terms of income, wealth and disparities between South and North
Inequality is not inevitable, though. It is the result of policy decisions.
Inequality doesn’t work for anyone. It diminishes our ability to make decisions, it harms community cohesion and it is bad for the economy.
We have an opportunity to do something about it. The Equality Act 2010 contains a valuable tool to achieve systemic change: the socio-economic duty.
The socio-economic duty would require public authorities to actively consider how their decisions are likely to increase or decrease income and wealth inequalities.
Unfortunately, successive UK governments have failed to bring the duty to life. However, local authorities are voluntarily implementing it.
With the right leadership, they have discovered that the duty can help them make the most of their diminishing resources to serve their communities, particularly those suffering food and energy poverty, homelessness and the consequences of ‘welfare reforms’.
Transparent and open budgeting or the application of a real living wage are two expressions of the commitment of a local authority with the reduction of inequalities.
The elections of May 2 are an opportunity to reduce the inequalities that harm us all.
We urge all candidates to pledge to support the implementation of the socio-economic duty in their local authority and to urge the UK Government to bring it into effect at the national level.
NUFC Fans Foodbank and Anya Bonner, Just Fair