Commission sets out recommendations to tackle inequality in Greater Manchester

An independent commission involving two experts from The University of Manchester has set out a range of measures for tackling inequality and transforming public policy across Greater Manchester.

The Independent Inequalities Commission was launched last October with a six-month mission to examine inequalities across the city-region, consider how they should be tackled and outline specific, ambitious recommendations.

Professors Andy Westwood and Ruth Lupton were part of the Commission, whose findings highlight a range of progressive actions already being taken in Greater Manchester and elsewhere and consider how they can be embedded within public service delivery at all levels, responding to the immediate challenges of the pandemic and pivoting towards new ways of doing things in the future.

The Commission is calling for wellbeing and equality goals to be put at the heart of the Greater Manchester Strategy, with public budgets and projects all geared towards redressing imbalances by building a strong economy and working with residents to deliver the best possible services.

Recommendations include strengthening the mandate of equalities panels, establishing an independent Anti-Discrimination body, working with education and training providers to bridge the skills divide, and community wealth building and investment initiatives. They also call for a target of 2030 being set for every employer in Greater Manchester to pay a living wage and offer living hours to employees.

During their six-month investigation the Commission took stock of existing evidence and good practice, engaging with stakeholders in the business, public, voluntary and community sectors.

This included the collaborative work between Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership and the Marmot Team at the Institute of Health Equity at University College London to develop Greater Manchester as the UK’s first Marmot city region, ensuring that policies and resources are geared towards creating a fairer, more equal society.

The analysis and recommendations from the collaboration will be published in spring 2021 and will support ongoing conversations in Greater Manchester around inequalities in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Greater Manchester has suffered from stubborn and long term inequality, directly affecting groups of people as well as the places and communities where they live or work,” said Professor Andy Westwood, Vice Dean for Social Responsibility in the Faculty of Humanities at The University of Manchester. “Covid-19 has deepened many of these inequalities and made addressing them even harder. The GMIC sets out the scale and nature of these challenges alongside a vision for the city-region and provides inspiration for a fairer future.”

“People in Greater Manchester have had enough of the gross inequalities that are damaging people’s lives, dividing our communities and holding back our economy,” said Honorary Professor Ruth Lupton, ‘former head of the Inclusive Growth Analysis Unit at The University of Manchester. “This Commission, brilliantly chaired by Kate Pickett and with many valuable contributions from our colleagues at The University of Manchester, has set out a vision and a practical plan for change – I’m honoured to have been a part of it, and I’m confident that it will make a real difference.”

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