Civil Society, Business and Academia Come Together in New Alliance to Tackle Structural Inequalities

Today The Equality Trust and CBI launch the new Structural Inequalities Alliance, bringing together leaders from business, academia and civil society, to work with the Government and the public to tackle the deep structural inequalities across the UK, which have been holding so many back. 

Chaired by The Equality Trust, members include the CBI, ProBono Economics, Equally Ours, Women’s Budget Group, UCL Public Policy, the Health Foundation, Centre for Mental Health, independent consultant Sam Smethers, John Ellerman Foundation and many others.

Members have come together because they are concerned about the widening structural inequalities in our society, as well as its devastating impact – as amplified by COVID-19 – and want to ensure that the government’s “Levelling Up” agenda addresses both the root causes of structural inequalities, as well as important regional inequalities. 

The Structural Inequalities Alliance firmly believes that for any programme of post-COVID recovery to succeed we must build back differently. Levelling up the towns and regions of the UK must involve reducing inequality for the people who live there. 

This is why leaders from business, academia and civil society have joined together to form the Structural Inequalities Alliance, with the aim of working with the Government, businesses and the public to dismantle damaging structural inequalities, and place equity of outcome at the heart of the nation’s recovery from Covid-19. 

To tackle worsening inequalities the Alliance is calling for a ‘new normal’ based on its five key principles for future policymaking:

  1. Shift the policy focus on to equality of outcome (equity): treating people differently in order to level the playing field of opportunity.
  2. Raise the voices of disadvantaged groups and ensure representative decision-making: changing the structure of society by changing who gets to design it.
  3. Form policy using better data and evidence on the disadvantages faced by different groups: better understanding the lived experiences of those at the sharp end of inequality across the country, and the consequences of policy actions.
  4. Adopt a place-based focus that builds from the local out: recognising that the challenges individuals face are embedded in where they live.
  5. Ensure fairness to each generation: valuing the old, young and future generations who lack a voice in the policy debate.

Dr Zubaida Haque, Executive Director of The Equality Trust, and Chair of new Structural Inequalities Alliance, said:

We have all seen the devastating effect that deep-rooted inequalities have had on different groups and different parts of the country during this pandemic. It is unacceptable that what family you are born into, what ethnic origin you identify by, and where you live should determine your chances of success, risk of illness, life or death in this country. In order to ‘build back fairer’ we need a transformative ‘levelling up’ plan, which focuses on people as well as places, and we need to return to a “new normal” where disadvantaged groups and equality are core focus in the government’s renewal agenda.

Rain Newton-Smith, CBI Chief Economist said

The CBI are delighted to be part of the alliance, as business is working hard to avoid the UK slipping backwards on living standards and inequality. There’s always more to be done, but the CBI is ready to work with partners on the value business can provide at community level to make positive change.”.


Notes to editors

1. The Equality Trust is the national registered charity that works to improve the quality of life in the UK by reducing social and economic inequalities. For further comments or to arrange an interview, contact Jo Wittams,

2. The CBI speaks on behalf of every sector in the economy. Membership includes firms and trade associations. For further comments or to arrange an interview please contact Jordon Cummings, CBI Health Director on 07472 382474 or

3. For more information about the Structual Inequalities Alliance