Because more equal societies work better for everyone

Act Local = Reduce the Gap

16 November 2011

We are calling on local councils and councillors to play their part in tackling the UK's shocking pay inequality.

Last year, the British Social Attitudes Survey showed that a majority of people think the chief executive of a large company should be paid no more than six times the pay of a typical factory worker. Yet evidence collated by One Society indicates that pay gaps are, on average, 15 to 1 in local authorities and a huge 262 to 1 in FTSE 100 companies.

Massive inequality of pay is built into the very foundations of our economy . . . but it doesn't have to be this way. Local councils have the power to bring about change through their own pay policies and also, crucially, through their influence on private-sector contractors.

Fairness Commissions

The local authority 'Fairness Commissions' established in England are listed below.  The role of these bodies is to assess fairness and equality outcomes in their area and put forward approaches to tackling the inequitable distribution at a local level.

The Islington Fairness Commission was established June 2010 and co-chaired by Professor Richard Wilkinson.  The Commission’s final report was published in June 2011 and the council is now working to implement the recommendations outlined in the report.  The Commission has published a guide for setting up a Fairness Commission which can be found here.
The Newcastle Fairness Commission was set up by Newcastle City Council in summer 2011.  Its final report was published in July 2012.  
The York Fairness Commission was established in 2011 and its final report published in September 2012. 
The Liverpool Fairness Commission was established by Liverpool City Council in April 2011. Its report, Come Together, argues for an ongoing campaign to embed the principles of fairness, set out in the document, in Liverpool. 
Sheffield’s Fairness Commission was established by Sheffield City Council in February 2011.  The Commission uses a Parliamentary Select Committee model, mounting a short focussed inquiry, taking evidence and producing a final report.  It is currently holding a series of public forums to allow Sheffield residents and Commissioners to debate fairness and equity in the city.  
Blackpool’s Fairness Commission was established in May 2012.  It is composed of representatives of a range of interests and organisations working in Blackpool and aims to examine ways of making Blackpool fairer for all those living and working in the city.

Birmingham City Council set up a social inclusion consultation process, as opposed to a Fairness Commission, on 17 March 2012.  The Giving Hope Changing Lives consultation is operating along five main lines of enquiry: diversity of place, diversity of people, inclusive growth, well being and young people.  On 17 October the consultation launched the Social Inclusion Green Paper, it is now seeking residents' views on recommendations set out in the document.

Fairness Commissions are in the process of being established in Leicester, Southampton and Newport.