An important, but depressing, new report has been published by the Centre for Health Economics at the University of York. The researchers have modelled the impact of our unfair society on the use of A&E departments and emergency attendances at hospital. They find that nearly half of all emergency hospital admissions are related to our unfair society. If we could move all households up to the income of the top 20 percent, that's a weekly income of £1,200 or above, we could avoid 158,000 emergency admissions annually. They found nearly 38,000 avoidable deaths associated with treatable conditions. People in the poorest fifth of households in Britain are three times more likely to go to hospital than people in the richest fifth.
One of the biggest things we can do to help the NHS is to reduce inequality in Britain. Unfortunately the health harms reaped on us all by extreme inequality will take many years for our society to recover from.
The report is available at http://www.york.ac.uk/media/che/documents/policybriefing/Health%20Inequality.pdf
Oxfam have launched a petition asking David Cameron to take action to crack down on tax havens and the many other tax avoidance tricks used by multi-national corporations and the superrich. This is part of Oxfam's wider international campaign about inequality. They calculate that 62 people have as much wealth between them as 3,200,000,000, or half the world's population. London as one of the leading centres of global finance, accounting and business must have a major part to play in rebalancing our world. The people at the very top are taking too much, and if you read Professor Sir Michael Marmot's book 'The Health Gap', you can see in detail how everyone, from rich to poor, would benefit from a more equal London, a more equal Britain, and a more equal world.
Oxfam's petition is here https://act.oxfam.org/great-britain/en
There's a good review of 'The Health Gap' here. https://www.timeshighereducation.com/books/review-the-health-gap-michael-marmot-bloomsbury
At a packed Fabian Society conference today Jeremy Corbyn put fairness at centre of his keynote speech. He called for fairer housing, fair wages, a fairer economy. His speech highlighted just how unfair so many of the current Government's policies are, hitting the poorest hardest, and making life easier for the wealthy.
My Fair London had an exhibition stand at the conference and we were busy all day talking to delegates. Thanks for so many good conversations and to the 80+ people who signed up to our mailing list.
Much of Corbyn's speech could have been written by My Fair London. He described how inequality is bad for jobs and growth, how it is neither necessary nor inevitable, and how people at the top have taken too much. One of his proposals, heavily trailed in the media, was to link companies paying dividends to shareholders to whether they pay a living wage to their lowest paid employees. He spoke about the need for wage ratios, a key My Fair London campaign objective.
At lunchtime Labour's mayoral candidate Sadiq Khan spoke about London's housing crisis, setting out some very practical proposals to tackle our broken housing market. Inequality seemed to underpin much of Sadiq's message but he could have emphasised it's impact on London more explicitly. Rampant inequality is the root of so many of London's problems.
Come along to our meeting on 20th January to help us develop our campaign ideas for the Mayoral election.
Lots of press coverage of the speech - there's detailed report in the Guardian here
Very exciting to see a significant US Presidential candidate setting out how inequality is one of the central problems facing America. The UK (and London) not there yet, but the international child poverty figures he uses show the UK is second only to the US in levels of child poverty. London has been leading Britain towards a more unequal society, where the very richest take more and more. It would be great to see some of our Mayoral candidates learning some positive from America.
Check out the video at https://berniesanders.com/issues/income-and-wealth-inequality/
2016 MFL Programme
We have monthly meetings often with prominent speakers held at UCLH, 250 Euston Rd, London. Please sign up for more details
Our current dates for 2016 are:
If machines produce everything we need, the outcome will depend on how things are distributed. Everyone can enjoy a life of luxurious leisure if the machine-produced wealth is shared, or most people can end up miserably poor if the machine-owners successfully lobby against wealth redistribution. So far, the trend seems to be toward the second option, with technology driving ever-increasing inequality.
Latest Interim Report from London Fairness Commission
Lord Victor Adebowale, Chair of the London Fairness Commission, said of the report:
‘Our interim report draws attention to the shadow of unfairness that hangs over London. Now we want to understand what Londoners think should be done to dispel it. We want to harness the talent, energy, creativity and sheer can-do attitude of Londoners to create a fairer city’
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My Fair London
My Fair London is an autonomous, self-organized group of Londoners who have come together to make our city a fairer, more equal place to live.
Many members of the group were initially inspired by The Spirit Level by Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett, but since we formed in 2009, the evidence that current gross levels of inequality are bad for everyone keeps on stacking up. My Fair London is affiliated to the Equalities Trust – the national charity formed to share the evidence of the harm inequality is doing to us all, and to campaign for a fairer society.
We meet on a monthly basis and organize a range of campaigns and actions to make London a fairer city.