Thousands to one

“The average FTSE chief executive earns 386 times more than a worker on the national living wage, according to an analysis published by the Equality Trust as it steps up its campaign for new government rules to expose pay gaps.” (The Guardian)
“we’re calling on Government to introduce mandatory reporting for large and medium businesses on the pay gap between their highest and average paid employee. Only then can we create a sense of trust and common purpose essential to build an economy and society that works for all.” (Equality Trust)
What can you do about this? You can sign a petition on making executive pay transparent (Equality Trust). You can even go along to AGMs and hold them to account (
Sheffield Equality Group monthly meet
Wednesday 5th April 7pm-9pm, Quaker Meeting House, St. James’ St, S1 2EW
Planning for the Festival of Debate postcard project, a meeting on the Basic Income, maybe a game – plus the usual chat around inequality. Hosted by Sheffield Equality Group. All welcome. Free, donations for tea and biscuits.
Protest Against Housing Benefit Cuts For 18-21 Year Olds
On Saturday the 1st of April, there will be a protest against the scrapping of housing benefit for young people. Independently organised, the demonstration will be in Parliament Square, London.
Steeple Corner Café, Victoria Centre, 37 Stafford Road, Norfolk Park, S2 2SE
The Real Junk Food Project hosts cafés offering meals on a basis of “Pay what you feel”. Open five days a week.
Eyre Street cafe (opposite Plug), 121 Eyre St. S1 4QW
Foodhall cafe offers food that would have been thrown away, surplus donated by retailers, on a “Pay-as-you-feel” basis. It is run by volunteers and encourages community engagement.

The State of Sheffield

The State of Sheffield 2017 report has been launched by the Sheffield City Partnership Board. It underlines the strength of the city to cope with hard times, but also the gulf between the lives of Sheffield citizens.
“The objectives will be to maximise talent, identify obstacles to fairness and justice, and ensure we build a prosperous city that benefits the whole of the citizenry.” – David Blunkett aiming high in the State of Sheffield report
“This year’s State of Sheffield report, launched on Tuesday, highlighted the growing ‘social and economic injustices’ in the city. It said the number of children living in poverty … was up from 22.7 per cent the year before, and the report suggested the figure was only getting worse.” – Sheffield Star notes the challenge ahead
“The big question is how do we stop it? Think part of the problem is that Council still thinks Top down instead of Bottom up. Dispensing from on high without involving the people you are dispensing it to only serves to heighten their sense of dis-empowerment. Oxfam has done some great work in areas of high deprivation in Wales and Glasgow. It started with self assertion classes and later led to small businesses starting up. Lets bring some light and colour into areas too with whatever funding we can grab from Culture and Arts. Apprenticeship schemes, IT education. Whatever the Community wants to feel alive again in these black times.” – Joy B on the need for ground-up control as well as grand solutions.
Sheffield Equality Group monthly meet
Wednesday 1st March, 7pm-9pm, Quaker Meeting House, St. James’ St, S1 2EW
As part of the forthcoming Festival of Debate, we’re looking forward to help conversations flow between different parts of the city. Come along to our next meeting or get in touch to find our more. Planning for the Festival of Debate postcard project and meeting on the Basic Income – plus the usual chat around inequality. Hosted by Sheffield Equality Group. All welcome. Free, donations for tea and biscuits.
National Demonstration for the NHS
Saturday 4th March, 12pm Tavistock Square, London
One of the strongest mechanisms acting towards equality is services available to all. Burdened with marketisation, privatisation, and cuts to social care, the NHS is under grave threat. Details on the demo and how to go from Sheffield is below. We urge all those who can to support the national Health Campaigns Together demonstration in London on 4rd March. There will be a rally outside Virgin Care before a march to parliament. If you need transport, coach tickets from Sheffield are available.
For more on the demonstration, see and
A Universal Basic Income
There are more and more people arguing that a Basic Income could work (Citizen’s Income and Compass Online)
It’s being trialled in more places ( Infographic)
But how would it work in Sheffield? We’re looking to stimulate debate around the welfare state and form a Sheffield version of the Basic Income, with a view to pushing for a pilot project in the city. We are forming a small group to push this forward, firstly with a public meeting and workshop as part of the Festival of Debate in May/June. Get in touch, or come along to the next meeting, if you are interested.

A meeting for a better future?

This April / May is the Festival of Debate 2017 (, a marvellous Sheffield-wide festival of talks and workshops . It would be great for Sheffield Equality Group to host a meeting as part of the festival, but we need your help.
The meetings below are just ideas but we need to pick one and make it work: which would you be interested in? which would you help make happen? who should speak / present?
Meeting A – The impact of a divided Sheffield: Sheffield is a divided city, with areas on one side amongst the wealthiest in the nation and areas on the other side amongst the most deprived. This meeting would explore the impact of that division upon all the people of Sheffield, from house prices to health.
Meeting B – Crowdsourcing a better Sheffield: It’s easier than ever for people to put together their money and make a difference. This meeting would present ideas on how this could be done in Sheffield to tackle income inequalities, and invite the audience to generate another.
Meeting C – Basic Income for Sheffield? The Basic Income is an idea to create economic justice by giving every person an equal income, on top of which they can earn more. Trials overseas have been successful, but there are concerns many other policies would be needed to make it work. This meeting would explore if it work here, and how?
So – three meetings – but we can probably only run one. If you have feedback or would like to help, email We need to decide by the end of this month. It doesn’t happen without you!

Behind the statistics

More than 4,000 people a night have been sleeping rough on England’s streets, a 16% increase on last year … Jon Sparkes, the chief executive of Crisis, said: “Behind these statistics are thousands of desperate people, sleeping in doorways, bin shelters, stations and parks – anywhere they can find to stay safe and escape the elements.” (BBC)
“It seems to me that the politicians in London are so far from the working fella that they don’t know how much a shop at Asda is. They don’t know how much it costs to live. They think people have the money they need, but they don’t.” – low pay, cuts, and the struggle to get by in Barnsley (Buzzfeed)
“The building owners are treating human beings like pigeons. I woke up on Sunday morning with a right bee in my bonnet and had to do something.” – a family in Manchester covers anti-homeless spikes with cushions
One of the main causes of poverty and homelessness is high housing and rental costs. One of the ways to tackle that is through public pressure. The #RentersRising campaign co-ordinated by Acorn Sheffield is looking to make a real difference to the conditions many face in the city
Sheffield Equality Group monthly meet
Wednesday 1st February, 7pm-9pm, Quaker Meeting House, St. James’ St, S1 2EW
Plans for the year ahead – links ups with stuff like Festival of Debate and the Sheff4Ten campaign – and any bright ideas for tackling income inequality! Hosted by Sheffield Equality Group. All welcome. Free, donations for tea and biscuits.
The marvellous Hans Rosling on inequality going down for the world, but up for countries, with snowballs…

A Shared Society

“If Theresa May wants to build a Shared Society where households aren’t left behind then she needs to get serious about tackling inequality. A good first step would be to reverse cuts in Universal Credit and Employment Support allowance as well as abandoning the benefits freeze at the earliest opportunity.” – The Equality Trust comment on the ‘Shared Society’
“The Sharehouse Market in Burngreave opened its doors on Christmas Eve, and a steady stream of customers has been snapping up the products. The market is part of the Real Junk Food Project which saves good products from going to landfill. It’s limited to two bags per customer, and shoppers pay what they feel is an appropriate price for their groceries.”  – the Sheffield Star on an excellent local initiative
Theresa May has been calling for a Shared Society – but what does that mean? A story of a young girl born in a time of austerity illustrates how a shared society should mean supporting those most in need and stopping cuts to essential services…
Help Us Help
There’s a lot of excellent stuff around helping homeless people in Sheffield at the moment, much of it linked up with a new initiative called Help Us Help. There are a lot of organisations making a big difference to those on the harshest end of income inequality, and any time or resources you can share would make a difference too – see
Sheffield Equality Group monthly meet
Wednesday 1st February, 7pm-9pm, Quaker Meeting House, St. James’ St, S1 2EW
Plans for the year ahead – links ups with stuff like Festival of Debate and the Sheff4Ten campaign – and any bright ideas for tackling income inequality! Hosted by Sheffield Equality Group. All welcome. Free, donations for tea and biscuits.
Postcapitalism Reading Group
Tue 17 Jan 2017, 7.30pm, The Bath Hotel, 66 Victoria St. S3 7QL
An informal group, now reading “Inventing the Future: Postcapitalism and a World Without Work” by Nick Srnicek and Alex Williams
Current Affairs – a WEA course
Thu 19 Jan 2017, 10.30am-12.30pm, Central United Reformed Church, 60 Norfolk St. S1 2JB
Week two of a discussion course looking at social, environmental, political and ethical issues, UK and world-wide. Topics to be agreed with the class. Runs for 11 weeks from 12th January, last meeting 6th April
Sh… Sh… Share?
Ah look, it was Fat Cat Wednesday some time ago – the day when most FTSE 100 CEOs earned as much as most of their staff would do in an entire year
The Equality Trust was involved in a debate on whether they really are worth all those millions. As the Adam Smith institute states, they are literally superhuman and worth 100 times more than anyone else
Elsewhere on the BBC, Laurie Taylor discusses research on the impact of the top 1% of the 1% of the 1% upon our cities and how they have started to dominate. Excellent stuff from Thinking Allowed

Making Sheffield Fairer

Over the next 12 months OPUS Independents are refocusing the Our Fair City campaign on ‘Making Sheffield Fairer’. Concentrating on 4 areas – Fairer Food, Fairer Money, Fairer Work and Fairer Futures – they will be supporting, working with and connecting up the initiatives, organisations and projects already doing great work in these areas. They are looking to help make as many positive changes as possible that will add up to making a real difference in communities and neighbourhoods across Sheffield.
Please visit to join and become a Fairer Sheffield Champion. It only takes 30 seconds.
Caught in History
“A great transformation had taken place and it had begun before Paul was even born. Rents had been regulated since 1915 and so the takings of landlords fell throughout the 1920s and 1930s. Slums were cleared to the ground and new social housing, and housing with mortgages was built.” – excellent history of inequality and housing by Danny Dorling on the Taxpayers Against Poverty site
“We are a country with delusions of grandeur, we spend like we’re in the Premiership, while we slip deeper into debt and gross inequality.” – Simon Duffy on the myth that the UK is rich

How to help someone back on course

Benefit Sanctions don’t seem to be the way… “While studies suggest sanctions do encourage some people back into work, other people stop claiming but do not start working and the Department for Work and Pensions has no record of them. If vulnerable people fall through the safety net, what happens to them?” (The Guardian)
We can’t rely on the Government of the day… “Significantly, given the government’s focus on ‘just about managing’ families, the data shows that lower income families will be worse off. The Foundation said the poorest 10% would see an income hit of more than 3% by 2020 as a result of tax and welfare policies.” (BBC)
“Anyone can suffer misfortune, anyone can lose their way. Cuts to services and benefits make it hard to get back. This Christmas, please help someone find their place again” – a Christmas ad for equality!
The Birmingham Health Charter – what is it and where next?
Wednesday 7th December, 7pm-9pm, Quaker Meeting House, St. James’ Street, S1 2EW
Feedback from the national Birmingham conference for the creation of a new charter for health (see below) and discussion of next steps and links in Sheffield. Hosted by Sheffield Equality Group, in association with the University of Sheffield Health Equity and Inclusion Research Group. All welcome. Free, donations for tea and biscuits.
A Day for Life
Sunday 4th December, 11am-3pm. FitStop, Unit 8, Farfield Industrial Estate, Hillfoot Road, S3 8AA
Family day in aid of LIFE (a new beginning), aiming to bring Sheffield together and raising awareness and supplies for the people in Sheffield who need it most
Sheffield Needs a Pay Rise – Fight for £10
Saturday 17th December, 1pm-4pm, Devonshire Green
March and rally – Sheff4Ten has several events in the run up to build support. Organised with various trade unions & community groups representing many workers across the city, to fight for a real living wage for all, of £10 an hour, and for a proper pay rise regardless of age
How to help a society back on course
Workers on boards or shareholder revolts? 13 ideas for holding bosses to account (New Statesman)
“What is very obvious is that the wealthy are now by far the biggest recipients of state benefits and it is they, and they alone, who must face cuts as a result.” – Richard Murphy sets out his budget… (Tax Research UK)
“We all want to build a better life and better opportunities for our children. When the social security system works well, it supports these goals” – an argument for the reform of Universal Credit… (Open Democracy)

The health of our nation

The Birmingham Health Charter – what is it and where next?
Wednesday 7th December, 7pm-9pm, Quaker Meeting House, St. James’ Street, S1 2EW
Feedback from the national Birmingham conference for the creation of a new charter for health (see below) and discussion of next steps and links in Sheffield. Hosted by Sheffield Equality Group, in association with the University of Sheffield Health Equity and Inclusion Research Group. All welcome. Free, donations for tea and biscuits.
Duty of Care
Tuesday 8th November, 7pm to 9pm, Theatre Delicatessen, The Moor, S1 4PF
Health minister Michael Alick is promoted at short notice. But with only four days until the new Health Bill becomes law, is it all it seems? A new play by local writer Laurence Peacock. Followed by panel discussion with Will Sapwell (BMA Junior Doctors’ Committee), Jillian Creasy (Sheffield GP), and Mark Gamsu (Sheffield CCG). Pay as you feel, book through EventBrite
Our Much-Valued NHS is Under Huge Pressure, But Why?
Tuesday 22nd November, 7pm to 9:30pm, Quaker Meeting House, St. James’ Street, S1 2EW Is it increasing demand and expectations? Or reductions in funding, staff and other resources for health and social care? Are the new NHS plans a sign of progress or simply cuts in disguise? Join our expert panel to debate how we can secure the NHS for future generations. With Dr Tim Moorhead (Chair of Sheffield CCG), Kevan Taylor (Chief Executive, Sheffield Health and Social Care), Mike Simpkin (Sheffield Save Our NHS). In association with Sheffield Save Our NHS
A New Politics for Health – the Birmingham Health Charter
Birmingham City University, Edgbaston, B15 3TN 23rd of November, 9.30am-4.30pm
This national conference aims to develop a new charter for health, the Birmingham Health Charter. It is also about inspiring and encouraging those campaigning now for a better, healthier future and building a stronger coalition to address the causes of health inequality. With high profile speakers, including Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett. Tickets are £50, for more details go to EventBrite
If you can’t go, but would still like to contribute, you can share your thoughts related to the themes of the conference through this survey
I Daniel Blake
At the screening of I Daniel Blake, we didn’t come up with any plans to sort it all out (well, not realistic ones for now anyway!), but there is a lot already happening. For what you could do in Sheffield, see our I Daniel Blake action page.

A hole at the bottom of the ladder

“this government has decided to open up that hole at the bottom of the ladder so that those people on the bottom rung can now be knocked off into the poverty that the Welfare State was designed to avoid.”
“claimants rights should be strengthened by a contract that specifies what needs to be in place before they can successfully look for work: housing, food, transport, IT, support etc and the first step addressing these issues with no sanctions until it is proved to be in place.”
“We ended up in a 12ft square room in Slough’s red-light district – all five of us. Water ran down the walls, we had a cupboard in which a loo, mini basin and a mouldy shower were all we had for personal hygiene.”
I Daniel Blake
Sheffield Equality Group meeting
Sheffield Showroom, meet 6pm for 6:15pm screening, Wednesday 2nd November. Meet for discussion afterwards in the Showroom Bar, all welcome!
Also screening at:
She concluded that the film “is patronising and simplistic, an hour and 40 minutes of misery porn for smug Londoners”. And that’s when I worried she was right. And that’s when I wanted to prove her wrong. … How can I change that? How can I try to help people facing hardship in my own pitifully small way? Is there anything “smug Londoners” can do? (Lynn Enright – The Pool)
Having seen I, Daniel Blake twice, I have both times been left a shivering wreck by this sequence, awash with tears, aghast with anger, overwhelmed by the sheer force of its all-but-silent scream.” (Mark Kermode – The Guardian)
What is Quantitative Easing anyway?
Monday 31st October, 7.30pm-9pm, Quaker Meeting House, 10 St James St. S1 2EW
What is Quantitative Easing anyway? The Bank of England has spent an enormous amount of money – £375 billion – on Quantitative Easing (QE), and is going to add £70 billion more. Positive Money is campaigning against this, and even the Prime Minister has complained about its “bad side effects”.  How is QE supposed to work, what’s wrong with it, and could it be replaced with something else? All welcome.
Postcapitalism Reading Group
Tuesday 1st November, 7.30pm, The Bath Hotel, 66 Victoria St. S3 7QL
A group which welcomes new members interested in reading political books. The discussion is from a variety of left-wing/anti-capitalist viewpoints. Now starting a new book: “Inventing the Future: Postcapitalism and a World Without Work” by Nick Srnicek and Alex Williams [2015]. This meeting, in the small side room in the Bath Hotel, will be a discussion of Chapter 1.
Sheffield Needs a Pay Rise – Open Steering Group
Tuesday 8th November 7 – 9pm, Central United Reformed Church, Norfolk Street
Following the extraordinary success of our public launch meeting on Friday 14th October with John McDonnell MP, with over 250 people in attendance, the hard work must start! You are cordially invited to attend our inaugural Steering Committee meeting.

Reassessing the assessors

“The 600 workers were yelled at ‘every day’ by clients, he said, with ‘people crying down the phone to you that they’re down to their last bag of wipes, have no food in the fridge to feed their kids'” – Concentrix have another seven months of tax credit cuts to deliver… (BBC)
“Ask most politicians, and they would assert that children and disabled people are two categories of citizens Britain cares about. In reality, families such as Rhiannon and her dad are not only being neglected by government policy but practically pushed over the edge.” Life as a child carer in an age of austerity (The Guardian)
“From April 2017, payments will fall to £73 for new claimants in the ‘work-related activity’ category as ministers argue that too few people in the category are moving into work.” – reassessments for the chronically ill stop, but the system ploughs on (BBC)
I am not a client, a customer, nor a service user. I am not a shirker, a scrounger, a better nor a thief. I am not a national insurance number, nor a blip on a screen. I paid my dues, never a penny short, and proud to do so. I don't tug the forelock but look my neighbour in the eye. I don't accept or seek charity. My name is Daniel Blake. I am a man, not a dog. As such, I demand my rights. I demand you treat me with respect. I, Daniel Blake, am a citizen, nothing more, nothing less. Thank you.
Opening on 21st October, including at the Sheffield Showroom. (The Showroom)
Are billionaires worth it? On rent-seeking, merit and luck.
Wednesday 5th October, 7pm-9pm, Quaker Meeting House, St. James’ Street, S1 2EW.
Discussing the arguments that the rich benefit because of their talent, informed by a new study of how the super-rich get to be rich. This research finds that nearly two-thirds of the wealth of the richest people in the world comes from “cronyism, inheritance, and monopoly”. But is the other one-third deserved? Hosted by Sheffield Equality Group, all welcome. Free, donations for tea and biscuits.
See this article for more information on the research
Sheffield Needs a Pay Rise!
Friday 14th October, 7pm-9pm, Central United Reformed Church, Norfolk Street, Sheffield
Sheffield Trade Union Council is launching a campaign for a living wage for everyone, and decent work for everywhere, in Sheffield. Bringing the trade union movement to the lowest paid, those on casual or zero hours contracts, and organising people throughout the city, as part of a campaign making the case for trade unionism to many un-unionised workers. Organisers and activists are invited to come along to share their success stories, bringing people together for a general campaign for better pay, conditions and trade union organisation! Speakers are from several unions, and the Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell MP. Go to EventBrite to book a free place
“It’s The Economy Stupid” – A Day of Economic Thought & Discussion

Sunday 16th October 2016, 12-5.30pm Philadelphian WMC, 2-4 Martin St. Walkley S6 3DW
A day school discussing economic questions such as: What is Neo-Liberalism? Is there such a thing as Corbynomics? Free Trade – Freedom, or race to the bottom? Everything you wanted to know about economics, but were frightened to ask – panel discussion.Tickets: £5, to book email or pay on the day. Organised by the Independent Working Class Education Network
Letters to a millionaire
“Every billionaire’s wealth today depends on having access to a large population that’s linked through a globalized economy … This growth happens independently from any one individual’s effort and talent, so we can’t say that billionaires deserve the profits that go hand in hand with economic growth.” In summary, they really aren’t worth it… (
…not that the message seems to be getting through;”total bonus payouts in the year to the end of March rose 4.4% to £44.3bn, according to Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures – with the biggest cash payments still going to the financial services sector.” (The Guardian)