Three recent reports have brought home the reality for many people across Cheshire of what “inequality” means, day-to-day, hour-by-hour. We have heard about:
- 1 in 9 children living in poverty
- the extent of dependency on food banks
- the numbers of children in need now eligible for free school meals.
There has been a tendency for politicians and the media to think that “levelling-up” is all about a north/south divide; nonsense. There a many very poor people living in the south, and there is a great deal of wealth in the north. The Tatton Constituency is probably one of the most unequal in the country. Politicians of all Parties have a responsibility to move beyond sound-bites, and put forward genuine, practical and radical proposals.
So, what would such a progressive strategy across Cheshire include? We would need:
- a public conversation about the scourge of poverty in what is generally regarded as a well-off area
- a campaign to massively improve the funding of local public services, including social care, health, and transport
- and a demand that our politicians make decisions that reduce, not increase, inequality
We need a fundamental change of attitude: this level of inequality is not acceptable or inevitable in one of the most affluent countries in the world.