The Equality Trust responds to Levelling Up and equality: a new framework for change

In her Fight for Fairness speech, Liz Truss asserted that concern with inequality would ‘run through the DNA of this government.’ On the evidence of this report, the government still has a long way to go if it is to fulfil this promise. 

The UK performs poorly in comparison to our peers on a great number of inequality indicators. Among OECD countries we have the highest levels of regional inequality, and we come near the bottom of the pack on a variety of measures of income, housing and gender equality, to name but a few. This is not a marginal issue: inequality touches all of our lives, doing untold harm to the social fabric and our society as a whole. This point has only been driven home by the COVID-19 pandemic, the effects of which have been highly varied across the country.

Clearly, the government cannot continue labouring under the impression that tackling inequality in our society can be treated as an afterthought. Rather, concern with equalities of all kinds needs to be embedded across departments through a comprehensive inequality reduction strategy which sets out key milestones and action plans, including meaningful engagement with grassroots and civil society organisations. 

In her oral evidence to the Women and Equalities Select Committee, Dr Wanda Wyporska, outgoing Executive Director of The Equality Trust, said “ To underline the importance of having a pan-equality and economic approach, and the problem with fragmentation, the evidence shows that, in countries with high levels of income inequality, we also have higher levels of poorer educational attainment. We have higher levels of violent crime, poor mental health, poor physical health, drug and alcohol addiction, and a range of socially determined ills. We know that, if we do not approach this by looking at the whole of inequality, at how the different areas intersect and at the economics, we are doomed to carry on working in silos.”

Dr Fran Darlington-Pollock, Chair of The Equality Trust, says “If concern with inequality runs through the DNA of this government, its commitment to levelling up should be backed with commencement of the legislation that already exists to support it. Commence the socioeconomic duty, and develop a strategy to tackle inequality.” 


  1. For interviews or further comment please email Dr Darlington-Pollock
  2. The Equality Trust is the national charity that campaigns to improve quality of life in the UK by reducing economic and social inequality. The UK is one of the most unequal countries in the developed world and evidence shows that in countries with higher levels of inequality, we see higher rates of mental and physical ill health, higher rates of imprisonment and violent crime, worse educational outcomes and lower levels of trust. Inequality is not inevitable.