Towards a Fairer, Stronger Economy

When The Equality Trust was set up in 2009, economic inequality was a peripheral issue largely ignored by politicians. Since then it has arguably become the issue of our times. Public and political interest has grown and influential figures and organisations from Barack Obama, to the Pope, to the International Monetary Fund have warned about the consequences of excessive inequality.

The Equality Trust has played a part in this, providing and promoting research on the causes of inequality and its wide-ranging effects.  We now know the true scale of the UK’s extraordinary inequality, and that more unequal societies like ours have worse life expectancy, health, educational outcomes, social mobility and crime.

Highlighting the problem of inequality is one thing, finding practical solutions to reduce it is another. This is made harder by our sluggish economic recovery, which is often used as an excuse for policies that leave ordinary voters feeling left behind in favour of those that benefit so called ‘wealth-creators’.

In reality, curing excessive inequality is vital for greater economic growth. That is why over the past six months The Equality Trust has looked at policies that can build both a fairer and stronger economy.

Published today, our Fairer and Stronger Economy document looks at delivering a fair chance for everyone through fairer and stronger businesses, fair pay and fair taxes. This means education and training opportunities for all; jobs that provide a dignified living; businesses that value all employees; and taxes that are fair. Achievable goals built on popular principles.

The report provides a range of policy solutions to deliver this including:

1.  All Parties should adopt an explicit goal to reduce inequality

2.  The rate of the National Minimum Wage should be increased to a Living Wage

3.  Accredited vocational courses should be included in the Student Loans System

4.  The Government should establish a Workplace Commission, to increase productivity through measures to share more responsibility and reward throughout the workforce, “as if the whole team matters to success”. 

5.  The 50p top rate of income tax should be reinstated.

This document is just the beginning. From now until the general election, The Equality Trust will be exploring new policies to complement and enhance those we have published today – policies that provide clear and achievable solutions to the challenges our country faces.

To do this we need your support, so please follow us on twitter and facebook, donate, or write to your MP to ask them to sign up to our inequality test. Economic inequality in the UK is at a crisis point, but we can still turn this around and build a fairer and stronger economy and a healthy and cohesive society.

Duncan Exley, Director, The Equality Trust.