The My Fair London Giant, Around London

Despite all the recent news of enormous bonuses and the exposure of malpractice at the top of British industry, most people are very ignorant about income inequality in this country. In a recent survey most people thought that the ratio between the income of the bosses of Britain’s top 100 companies and the income of the average worker in those companies was 12 to 1. In fact these bosses pay themselves over 200 times the income of their average worker.

Last Sunday we found a way of showing people in Hyde Park the real statistics.

We made a five metre-high giant and explained to passers-by that his height represented his income. We could then show them tiny cardboard figures that we had made representing nurses, bus drivers, shop assistants, teachers, cleaners, etc. whose puny height of an inch or two measured their annual income on the same scale as the giant. It was good to see just how amazed people were.

Watch this space and Follow our Inequality Giant around London, educating people about what is really going on with executive pay.

Evidence

  • London has shocking levels of inequality
    London is the most unequal region in the UK1. It is also one of the most unequal cities in the world1.  On average, the top 10 per cent richest Londoners are 273 times wealthier than the bottom 10 per cent1. The top 20 per cent of earners take home 60 per cent of the income2. The bottom poorest 10 per cent of households, on the other hand, are just getting by – at retirement age they have total wealth of under £3,5003. Economic inequality has risen sharply since the 1970s and it continues to rise. London, as the nation’s capital, should lead the way in reducing inequality and in creating a fairer society.
  • Inequality is harming all Londoners
    Economic inequality, the gap between rich and poor, causes social problems. The Spirit Level shows that high levels of inequality are bad for everyone, both rich and poor4. So reducing inequality would benefit us all. To read more evidence of how inequality is harming download My Fair London.
  • What evidence is there that inequality causes social problems?
    The Spirit Level, a book by Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett, broke ground when it was published in 2009. Based on thirty years’ research and hundreds of academic papers, it demonstrated that more unequal societies are bad for almost everyone – the well off as well as the poor. Reviewing academic studies and statistics, it found that almost every social and environmental problem – ill-health, low levels of trust, violence, mental illness, drugs – is more likely to occur in a less equal society. In this paper we draw heavily on The Spirit Level along with evidence from The Equality Trust, other think tanks and academics.
  • Most Londoners want politicians to reduce inequality  
    Three-quarters of Londoners say they would support  government action to reduce the gap between high and low earners5. These results are consistent with successive national surveys, that show over three-quarters of Britons are concerned about inequality and over half feel it is the government’s responsibility to reduce inequality6. The Mayoral candidates should listen to what Londoners are saying, and put inequality at the heart of their manifestos.
References and footnotes
  1. Hills J, Brewer M, Jenkins S, Lister R, Lupton R, Machin S, Mills C, Momood T, Rees T and Riddell S (2010) An Anatomy of Economic Inequality in the UK: Report 16 of the National Equality Panel, London: Government Equalities Office. [] [] []
  2. MacInnes T and Kenway P (2009) London’s Poverty Profile, London: New Policy Institute []
  3. Hills J (2010) in Closing the gap: inequality in London, Trust for London and London Voluntary Services Council []
  4. Wilkinson, R & Picket, K (2009) The Spirit Level []
  5. ippr (2011) Getting what we deserve?: Attitudes to pay, reward and desert []
  6. National Centre for Social Research (December 2010) British Social Attitudes Survey 27th Report: Chapter 1 – Do we still care about inequality? []

Get involved

The Sheila McKechnie Foundation (SMK) is holding a special networking event in London on Tuesday 15th January from 4.30 – 6.30pm, aimed at campaigners, lobbyists, policymakers and strategists alike who are trying to tackle poverty and inequality in the capital.

“MEGACITY LONDON – ever growing, ever more unequal” will be a talk packed full of facts, figures and analysis by leading academics Professor Danny Dorling and Dr Ben Hennig, which will be followed by an opportunity to meet and network with others over a glass of wine.

“Danny Dorling is that rare university professor: expert, politically engaged and able to explain simply why his subject matters.” The Guardian, April 2010

Danny and Ben’s talk will be a cutting edge analysis of the current and emerging poverty and inequality issues that face London, and will provide inspiration for campaigners, lobbyists, policymakers and strategists.

The event will take place at Resource for London, 356 Holloway Rd, London N7 6PA (http://goo.gl/maps/e9cWA).

Tickets can be purchased from as little as £10, and we also have a number of free bursary places for those with limited funds.

Click here to read more and to book your ticket.

We look forward to seeing you at this exciting networking event!

The SMK Team


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My Fair London Picnic

Our My Fair London Mayoral campaign was a great success – even if the wrong candidate got elected. Over 850 people signed our petition and we gained over 50 new members. We held a very successful launch event and leafleted a number of the hustings events.

So…as you know, we have decided to hold a celebratory My Fair London picnic on Sunday 1 July between 2 and 5 in Hyde Park just beside Speakers Corner (see directions below).

We don’t socialise nearly enough, so this will be a good chance for all you nice egalitarians to chat, eat and drink together. We all have a lot in common.

The weather forecast looks good for July 1st so it will be a good time for to use our 5 metre high Giant representing a FTSE board member on an average income of £2,700,000 and compare it to our tiny models of people doing normally paid jobs.

So please join us – just turn up – and bring your friends and your children and some food to share.

If you have any doubts on the day about the weather and if the picnic is going ahead – or if you cannot find us – please ring either Peter on 07722017961 or Sean on 07791 699 507.

We’ll have the picnic near Speakers’ Corner, Hyde Park. The spot we’ve chosen is easy to get to. From the main gate to Speakers’ Corner, with Marble Arch at your back, walk across the open space towards a path going into the park with railings either side. (A blue high-rise building can be seen in the distance directly in front of you beyond the park.) At the end of the path, cross the wide road (30 yards) into the park and we will be near the smallish trees on your left. Total distance from Speakers’ corner gate – 150 yards.

Peter Robbins


My Fair London Launch Event

5-7pm, Saturday 25th February 2012 at the Old Vic Tunnels

On Saturday 25th February from 5-7pm at the Old Vic Tunnels, the London Equality Group launches its My Fair London campaign. The campaign will highlight economic inequality in London and asks the candidates for London Mayor and the London Assembly to take action to reduce it.

We will hear from a number of distinguished speakers including:

  • Kate Pickett, co-author of The Spirit Level
  • Michael Robinson, award-winning BBC Journalist and presenter of The Wealth Gap: The View from London
  • Andy Hull, senior research fellow at the IPPR and co-Chair of the Islington Fairness Commission
  • Andrew Simms, former policy director at NEF and author of its report, The Ratio

A question and answer session will follow. If you have a specific question that you’d like to ask, please send it to info@myfairlondon.org.uk.

We hope that you can join us in what will be a fascinating evening. It represents the first step in the journey to reducing economic inequality in the most unequal city in the developed world.

Tickets costing £2 can be bought online at http://www.thevaultfestival.com/products-page/week-three/my-fair-london or can be bought at the door on Leake St.

We look forward to seeing you on Saturday.
The MY FAIR LONDON Campaign Team

What is the My Fair London Group?

The My Fair London Group is an autonomous group associated with The Equality Trust that works to promote the findings contained in The Spirit Level. It is run by volunteers. Find out more at www.equalitytrust.org.uk.

The My Fair London Campaign

London is one of the most dynamic cities in the world, but it is also one of the most unequal. This level of inequality is harmful for every Londoner, rich and poor (see evidence further down). Recent evidence shows that economic inequality causes many social problems, rather than the other way around. The London Equality Group challenges the candidates for the office of the Mayor of London to make a firm commitment, if elected, to recognise that the economic gap between rich and poor is doing great harm to. Londoners, and to take concerted action to reduce this gap. Our Plan of Action sets out our challenge in full.

What London residents can do

If you feel strongly that the Mayor of London should lead the way in addressing inequality in London, Sign our Petition.

It is time for ACTION on ECONOMIC INEQUALITY in LONDON

London has the largest gap between rich and poor of any city in the developed world. Evidence from The Spirit Level and beyond shows that the greater this gap, the greater the problems for all, rich or poor. Crime, distrust and anxiety increase. Education, health and social mobility suffer. Economic inequality harms everyone. It also costs the taxpayer. The My Fair London Group believes that those with power must do something to address this urgent problem and so do the vast majority of Londoners.

So we’re asking the Mayor of London to take action to reduce economic inequality in the Capital.

If you’re a Londoner and want the Mayor to act, please Sign our Petition and Join our Campaign.


IMPORTANT NEW PUBLICATION – the new booklet Why Inequality Matters

This booklet draws on the bestselling book “The Spirit Level – Why Equality is Better for Everyone” by Professors Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett which shows that most social problems are worse in more unequal societies and that inequality lies at their root.

This booklet has been produced by members of My Fair London in response to requests from politicians, trade unionists, and members of the public.

DOWNLOAD it here NOW for FREE and spread the word by sending people to www.myfairlondon.org.uk

Our huge thanks go to My Fair London for producing this and, in particular, John Philo and Peter Robbins for their major contributions.


Which Mayoral Candidates supported  “A Fairer London”


The MFL Giant

Follow the Giant on Facebook!

MFL supporters gather in Westminster with our Giant who represents the grotesque wage differences between Chief Execs of FTSE 100 companies and normal working people like teachers, doctors, policemen and women, cleaners etc..

Download our free PDF about The Giant

It’s an absolute disgrace – Join us to make London more equal


The Spirit Level Documentary

This film will show how societies can be happier, healthier and more successful. The secret? Greater equality.


The Spirit Level Documentary Trailer from Literally Films on Vimeo.

Please support our campaign by visiting indiegogo.com/spiritlevelfilm

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