Dear Prime Minister,
Greater Manchester and many places across the UK are beset by high levels of economic inequality where life chances and experiences are all too often determined by a person’s socio-economic background. The Levelling Up agenda is a direct response to these inequalities between and within regions.
The ambitions of the Levelling Up agenda and genuine social mobility can only be realised if policymakers and those designing and delivering public services consider what their actions will mean for the experiences and outcomes of people experiencing poverty. This is being increasingly recognised by local and regional public bodies, including many local councils of various political control, through voluntary adoption of the socio-economic duty.
The socio-economic duty is contained within Section 1 of the Equality Act 2010 but hasn’t been enacted into law. If enacted, the duty would legally require public authorities to consider the way their decisions increase or decrease inequalities that arise from socio-economic disadvantage. Through voluntary adoption, public bodies are beginning to evidence the positive impact the duty can have on the lives of the people they serve. The impacts include encouraging more people into employment and targeting public spending in a more effective way.
Whilst voluntary adoption is proving positive, this approach needs to be embedded across all public sector bodies through enaction of the duty. Greater Manchester Poverty Action (GMPA) and the other signatories to this letter believe that, if enacted, the socio-economic duty would provide a powerful foundation for a fairer and more equal society. It would complement the Levelling Up agenda and send a clear signal that the Conservative Party prioritises promoting social mobility, tackling poverty and ending socio-economic disadvantage ahead of the forthcoming general election.
For more analysis on the importance of implementing the socio-economic duty, please visit gmpovertyaction.org/socio-economic-duty.
I look forward to your positive response.
CEO of Greater Manchester Poverty Action (GMPA)
GMPA is a leading anti-poverty organisation, existing to end poverty in Greater Manchester and beyond. We deliver independent, evidence-based activities to address socio-economic disadvantage, with a focus on maximising the financial resources available to households and amplifying the voices of people with lived experience of poverty. We manage an extensive network of over 2,000 professionals and volunteers actively engaged in tackling poverty in our city region and across the UK.