Read our 2021 Agenda for a fairer London

Like a virus, inequality infects our minds. It harms way we relate to one another and how we feel. Nowhere is this more relevant than in London. Our Agenda for a #FairerLondon, created by citizens and activists, asks the Mayor of London to reduce inequality – a lot. We need to change the shape of our society, for everyone’s benefit.  

Inequality is woven into the structures of our society through multiple, overlapping layers of discrimination, racism and injustice. Our solutions must do the same, reach throughout society, and wherever possible work to address not the symptoms but the root causes of inequality: the unfair distribution of power and money. 

Read our 2021 Agenda for a Fairer London and Sign the petition calling on the 2021 Mayoral candidates to take action on London's obscene levels of inequality.


It's time for action on inequality - we need to narrow the gaps between us

London is one of the most unequal cities in the developed world. A growing body of evidence shows that the greater the gap between rich and poor, the more society is damaged and we all suffer. Just as tuberculosis still does, and just as cholera did in the 19th Century, rates of death from Covid19 have shown us the contours of inequality in our city.

But it's not just infectious diseases that play on our relationships. Because of the way it makes us feel about ourselves and about others, as inequality rises so does crime, anxiety, distrust and mental illness. Inequality damages the health and educational chances of our children, rich and poor. Inequality fuels London's housing crisis, and it is bad for the economy, according to dangerous radicals like the Bank of England, the World Bank and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation Development. The gaps between people that inequality creates harm everyone. And these harms cost society billions. Our extreme inequality is plainly unjust. But London doesn't have to be like this.

FAIRER HOUSING, FAIRER PAY, BETTER HEALTH, BETTER EDUCATION, MORE TRUST, LESS CRIME
A FAIRER CITY FOR EVERYONE 

What is My Fair London?

My Fair London campaigns to make London a fairer city, a city where people trust each other, where families can thrive, where people come together. A fairer London would be a more civilised city, a city where life is getting better, a city that leads the world in tackling the many problems that face us.

We are a group of ordinary Londoners. We organise campaigns, support local groups, try to come up with ideas that will make a difference. One particular focus is to try and influence the Mayor of London his policies.

My Fair London is affiliated with The Equality Trust, the national equality charity.

We are determined to change our city for the better. Get involved. Sign up as a supporter. Check out the blog pages on this site to read more about inequality in London and what needs to be done.

Sign up as a supporter and help us create a fairer city for everyone

We hold monthly open group meetings to plan our actions. We also organise regular public meetings and discussions about inequality. Sign up as a supporter and you'll get regular emails keeping you up to date with our activities. Our meetings are usually on weekday evenings and start at 6:30pm

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  • From the blog

    Time to take action on child poverty - it affects us all

    We are delighted to host a guest blog by June O'Sullivan, CEO of the London Early Years Foundation (LEYF)the UK’s largest charitable social enterprise

    Access to high quality affordable childcare in local communities is accepted as central to supporting the reduction of some elements of child poverty, not least through parents being able to work and the education route for children. However, the Mayor of London commissioned a report last month which found that childcare providers across London will struggle to survive 2021 due to the challenges from the pandemic which has caused significant overheads as well as substantial reductions in income.

    Unsurprisingly, those in deprived areas were hardest hit with a staggering 70% of nurseries in disadvantaged areas ‘struggling’ compared with 59% in more affluent areas. That is a huge blow for those children and their families who won’t be able to access high quality Early Years education – something which has been shown to be very effective at reducing the attainment gap – nor will they have accessible and affordable childcare so that they can go out to work.

    In 2018, I gave a TEDxTalk about the impact of child poverty and what shocked me the most was just how many people living in poverty were actually working. The UK is the 6th richest economy in the world yet 14.5 million people are living in poverty (with a household income less than 60% of the UK average). Of these, 4.2m children currently live in poverty – and those under the age of five the hardest hit. Families with two parents working full time, at the national minimum wage, are still 11% short of the income needed to raise a child.

    Since the pandemic, the Legatum Institute suggested a further 690,000 people have been pushed into poverty of whom 120,000 are children. For these families, the crisis has multiplied their struggle to balance insecure work, low pay and a patchy welfare system while trying to cover the cost of essentials like soaring rents, food, fuel bills, transport and childcare.  In a report by the Childhood Trust, children’s emotional wellbeing and mental health has also been badly impacted by Covid.

    Poverty is a scourge – inflicting great misery on millions of children from which most will have great difficulty escaping. It is multi layered in its impact affecting their health, education (both expectations and outcomes) and not to mention their personal confidence and sense of wellbeing.

    Poverty also has an emotional drag. Older children report feeling ashamed and unhappy and worry about their parents. Disadvantaged children are 4.5 times more likely to develop severe mental health problems by age eleven (compared to their well-off peers). Children in inadequate housing have been shown to be more at risk of respiratory illnesses and meningitis. Those in the most disadvantaged areas can expect 20 fewer years of good health in their lives than children in places with more resources.

    Even the House of Lords itself said that Universal Credit pushes families even further into poverty. It also costs society. A cautious estimate is £12 billion a year responding to the social and educational consequences of child poverty (and that fails to calculate the ongoing economic costs of children failing to reach their potential). Turn it on its head and addressing child poverty could benefit the Exchequer £17 billion through increased tax receipts and reduced welfare costs.

    It goes without saying that we have a duty of care to our youngest citizens. Nelson Mandela reminded us that there is no keener revelation of a society’s soul than how it treats its children. Right now, we should all be ashamed. Consecutive governments have all talked about the importance of the Early Years and funded research to support the impact of early intervention, yet no one will fund it properly.  The pandemic is proving to be the last straw for many settings. What else needs to be said? A combination of redundancies, income cuts and increased costs mean the UK’s poorest families are getting poorer and child poverty is on the rise.

    What ACTION Can We Take NOW?

    1. Start a National conversation about what a happy modern childhood should look like?
    2. Agree an integrated, cross departmental National Strategy to Reduce Child Poverty
    3. Increase Universal Credit and provide affordable and good quality family housing
    4. Increase access to fully funded Early Education for our youngest children with support and training subsidies for parents trapped in poverty
    5. Write to your local MP with a call to put child poverty at the heart of the UK’s recovery

    Connect with June

    T: @JuneOSullivan

    W: Juneosullivan.com

     

     

     

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    Fair media

    Telling a fairer story

    Why is it so hard to win support for a fairer London when equality is better for everyone?

    A project proposal from MFL activist Adrian Renton

    Both in the UK and globally in recent years, there has been a continuing accumulation of capital and wealth (and so power) into fewer and fewer hands, almost independently of the political leanings of the parties of government.

    More equality and fairness in societies delivers stronger health and well-being as well as social and economic prosperity.  But the fairness focus has been on monetary and physical resources and advocating and campaigning for government, political parties or business to deliver or adopt practices, policies or laws to redistribute these resources. But achieving greater equality and fairness requires both electing people/parties who wish to deliver these and maintaining a news narrative which allows them to deliver. There is ample evidence of the strong effects that news and current affairs media has on the formation of the opinions and voting choices of the people who make up the electorate, and the ways ‘big data’ platforms target voters with political messages. However, equality of access to, and power in the control of the media is extremely limited.  Apart from the BBC almost all the consumed wholesale and retail outlets for news and news narratives, whether delivered through print, online news, social media, or broadcasting are owned by a small number of companies, and many of them in turn controlled or owned by super-rich individuals. Unsurprisingly the explanatory narratives that our media owners enforce systematically push a world-view that favours their interests: that inequality is natural, that there is no alternative to the ‘free-market’, that neoliberal economics are true.

    And the pandemic has further highlighted how vulnerable our society is to flawed or biased reporting.

    My Fair London has started to think about ways to challenge the status quo. Starting with the 2021 Mayoral and GLA elections we are collaborating with the Media Reform Coalition on a project that seeks to:

    1. Deliver a manifesto for News in London and lobby Mayoral and GLA candidates and parties in the 2021 elections to commit to its key elements
    2. Conduct content analysis of news coverage of the Mayoral Election
    3. Conduct polls of how Londoners think news media and news narratives can be improved
    4. Secure resources and partnerships to deliver a longer term strategy for rebalancing and democratising ownership and control of the news media in London and beyond to deliver accurate factual information
    5. Create a London media Watchdog which scrutinizes media practices that marginalize public interest, minority and dissenting viewpoints
    6. Secure partnerships with organisations concerned with inequalities in resource distribution, population health and wellbeing, climate change and justice to raise awareness of the importance of media and secure funding for new evidence generation
    7. develop a longer-term strategy for rebalancing and democratising ownership and control of the news media in London and beyond to deliver accurate, factual information
    8. Explore the creation of an umbrella organisation (a cooperative?) to bring together independent news platforms and third sector organisations to consider how they can work together

    To create and sustain a fairer London we also need a more balanced, open, trustworthy and diverse media.

    For further information and if you’d like to get involved in this project please contact: [email protected]

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