There are crucial devolved parliamentary, local and mayoral elections being held in parts of the UK on Thursday 6th May and this is an ideal opportunity to push for the egalitarian policies we really need to improve our society and reduce inequality.
While we are advocating for introduction of the Socio-Economic Duty (SED) at national level in England - speaking to Conservatives, the Women and Equalities Select Committee and the media - we know that the real pressure comes from you, on the ground. We've seen Scotland and Wales introduce the SED and local councils voluntarily adopt it.
The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the most vulnerable in our society has highlighted more than ever the devastating consequences of inequality. Now is the time to act to ensure that we do not enter into a so-called “K” shaped recovery, where the richest continue to get richer and the less well off get poorer. We are already seeing this happen in data from the Office for National Statistics, (ONS) showing that inequality is increasing. We also know that the richest 1% of the global population account for more emissions than the poorest 50%, yet many policies don't take this into account locally, regionally or nationally.
“In the year when the UK hosts COP 26, and while the government continues to reward some of Britain’s biggest polluters through tax credits, the Commission report shows why this is precisely the wrong way to meet the UK’s climate targets." (Rapidtransition.org)
If there are elections where you live, please put these five simple asks - "The Fairness Five" - to your sitting councillors and candidates, by copying the text from this template email:
1. Will they commit to adopting the Socio-Economic Duty to evaluate the likely impact of policies on socio-economic inequality, if not already adopted?*
2. Will they commit to paying all directly and indirectly contracted council staff the Real Living Wage (as set by the Living Wage Foundation)?
3. Will they ensure that policies and practices to tackle the climate crisis are hitting those that pollute the most and not increasing inequality?
4. Will they commit to putting concrete processes in place to encourage, listen and respond to those with lived experience of the issues and in particular, the voices of young people?**
5. Will they commit to tackling health inequalities in their area?
You may be able to find your local council and mayoral candidates here using this citizen-led database. Your local council website and/or your local library may also have candidate information.
You can check if your candidates have signed the pledge here.
Please forward any responses you receive from any councillors or candidates to our Senior Local Groups Organiser, Emma, at email@example.com - thank you. And if you want to get more involved in local equality campaigning the best way to do this is to join or start a local equality group and we can help you do that.
By taking these actions you are actively helping to build a fairer, better UK. Thank you very much for your support.
* As per the Socio-economic Duty, section 1 of the Equality Act 2010, which says: "An authority to which this section applies must, when making decisions of a strategic nature about how to exercise its functions, have due regard to the desirability of exercising them in a way that is designed to reduce the inequalities of outcome which result from socio-economic disadvantage.” This was, regrettably, not brought into force by the UK Government but local councils can take action on this and many are doing so, eg: Newcastle and other major cities. The Equality Trust and Just Fair are campaigning to encourage the Government to bring the duty into force: https://1forequality. com/ and you can ask your MP to support EDM 591 to support this campaign - thank you.
** for example our Young Equality Campaigners at the Equality Trust want to campaign to lower the voting age to 16. Highlighting examples such as Brexit and climate change that have a long term impact on them but which they had no political agency over.