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Fairness Commission: We must stand together, says Archbishop
6:10pm Thursday 27th September 2012 in News
FOREWORD TO THE YORK FAIRNESS COMMISSION REPORT, BY THE ARCHBISHOP OF YORK, DR JOHN SENTAMU
To be Sponsor of the Fairness Commission has been both a great honour and a great responsibility.
York is a wonderful city, with wonderful people living and working side by side. However, there exists an unspoken divide. Whilst two fifths of residents are relatively well off – living in the best 20 per cent of places in the country - around 13,000 of our citizens reside in the most deprived 20 per cent of areas.
You can judge how healthy a society is by how it treats the most vulnerable people. Research has conclusively shown that a more equal society is a happier society. If we want to see York prosper and flourish we must reduce its societal divide. It is our duty and our responsibility.
For the Commission “fairness” has been about increasing equality of opportunity, reducing income inequality and improving the wellbeing of all. I want to thank the Commissioners for giving their time, knowledge and insight free of charge.
This report is a testament to their determination and hard work. Particularly I would like to thank Ruth Redfern for chairing the Fairness Commission and keeping us all on the right track!
This final report helps to set out the hopes and aspirations of York’s people. Many individuals and organisations came to meetings to give their views, others emailed, wrote or phoned in. We are extremely grateful for your participation, without which this report would not have been possible.
I hope our elected representatives, from across the political parties, will sit down and consider our recommendations in a spirit of shared endeavour.
I am sure, regardless of our backgrounds, we all want to see a fairer and more prosperous York where everyone is encouraged to play an active role. Our recommendations are designed to do just that.
I hope too that the ten Fairness Principles become the blueprint for decision making in York in the years to come. Let us always consider those in need and look to give a voice to the voiceless.
As our country goes through tough economic times we need to remember that not all in our society are blessed with good jobs, incomes, housing and leisure opportunities. Our call for a Living Wage recognises that we need to value each and every person in our great city and that people should be paid a fair wage for a fair day’s work.
We have a common endeavour. Let us not attempt to win our own battles against poverty by impoverishing others – we should stand together to tackle this social evil. We are a community that will sink or swim together.
As an independent commission, we have no political axe to grind. Our concern is that our civic leaders – whether they be in public bodies, businesses or communities – are informed of the issues and are able to make informed, bold and sometimes tough choices needed.
Decisions that will tackle poverty and injustice in all their forms and enable the human spirit and wellbeing for all the citizens of York to flourish.
I hope that this Report will not only start a constructive debate on how we tackle inequality and the related issues of wellbeing and human flourishing, but help set in motion a process where we all pull in the same direction to make inequality a thing of the past.