Friday, 18 November 2011

Your local council can help fight inequality

Ask your councillor to help reduce the gap between rich and poor

UK income inequality is among the highest in the developed world and evidence from The Equality Trust and others shows that this is harmful for almost everyone. People in more equal societies live longer, have better mental health and are more socially mobile. Community life is stronger where the income gap is narrower, children do better at school and they are less likely to become teenage parents. When inequality is reduced people trust each other more, there is less violence and rates of imprisonment are lower. If we want to build a better society, it is essential we take action now to reduce the gap between rich and poor.

Evidence presented by The Equality Trust shows that there are different ways to reduce income inequality. Societies can either redistribute income (as they tend to do in Scandinavia) or narrow pay gaps in the workplace (as they tend to do in Japan and certain US states such as New Hampshire).

The British Social Attitudes Survey in December 2010 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.

Evidence collated by One Society indicates that pay gaps are, on average, 15 to 1 in local authorities, 10 to 1 in large charities and a huge 262 to 1 in FTSE 100 companies. Inequality is built into the very foundations of our economy.

But we can change this. Councils can be a great force for reducing the pay gap. They can tackle inequality through their own pay policies and also, crucially, through their influence on private-sector contractors.

Email your councillor by following this link:

North Somerset has the 7th largest gap between rich and poor in the country.

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