We were pleased to make a written submission in response to the recent call for evidence from the House of Lords Select Committee on Citizenship and Civic Engagement. Our full response can now be read here. One of the most important questions asked was why so many communities and groups feel left behind, which we answered as follows:
Many communities and groups feel left behind because they are, in fact, being left behind. The richest 1,000 people in the UK have as much wealth as the poorest 40% of households and FTSE 100 CEOs routinely earn around £5 million a year while the average UK wage is £28k. With the rungs on the ladder this far apart it is little wonder that social mobility is severely lacking according to the government’s own Social Mobility Commission. Citizenship is a two-way process; in order for people to engage in a positive way with the state, then the state must engage with its citizens in a positive way and protect and respect them. This vast material inequality is now beginning to seep through to matters of life and death with life expectancy levels stalling and infant mortality rates beginning to rise.
The fact that so much of the nation’s wealth is (and is very acutely perceived and felt to be) concentrated in London and the South-East also aggravates this sense of being left behind in other parts of the UK. This is also compounded by disparities in income and wealth between old and young, urban and rural, white and BME communities as well as between men and women – all of which are component parts of our overall economic and social inequality. The only way to overcome all these divisions between us is to actively plan to reduce them. We need the government to commit to a national mission of economic and social renewal based firmly on reducing the gap between rich and poor in the UK.
We have also shared our full response with the independent inquiry into Civil Society Futures as we felt there was considerable overlap with the areas being explored by the House of Lords Select Committee. Please do share this blog and our submission widely via all your networks. Thank you very much.
The Equality Trust