Thanks to our lobbying, Sheffield Green Party is putting a motion to the next Full Council meeting on 1st February asking Sheffield Council to publish pay ratios for both itself and the major companies it deals with, in support of the Equality Trust campaign. Please please keep up the pressure by contacting your councillors if you have not already done so. We also still need to get cross-party support for the fairness commission.
Ask your Councillor to support the Fairness Commission
We need to ensure that all councillors support the Sheffield Fairness Commission and increase the likelihood any actions will be pushed forward. The national Equality Trust has a simple tool to help you contact your councillors, as well as a suggested letter. If you click on the Councillors name you will see the letter. To make it more specific to Sheffield, I suggest you replace the last line of each letter with something like:

“Such an action will set the ground for the forthcoming Sheffield Fairness Commission. I trust that you will support the work of the Commission in helping the Council become a powerful force for reducing excessive inequality, both in Sheffield and as part of wider actions across the UK. By taking these actions you can play an important part.”

You are, of course, welcome to personalise the message as you like:

Next meeting
Wednesday 1st February, 7pm at Quaker Meeting House – discussing the priorities of the Sheffield Fairness Commission (see below), with tea and biscuits! All welcome.


Sheffield Fairness Commission
Regarding representation of the group on the Fairness Commission, we received the following message from Lee Adams: “Thanks. I have consulted Alan Walker, the Chair, and unfortunately the commissioners are decided. They are personal invitations and they will not represent organisations or groups. The equality group is very welcome however to provide written evidence we will be putting out a call for this in February.”
The terms of reference for the Commission can be seen here:
The list of priorities for the Fairness Commission will be the subject of discussion of the next Equality Group meeting.

News and Links
Stop RBS bonuses!
“I’m working 7 days a week to make ends meet because my wages haven’t gone up but everything else has. I don’t enjoy life anymore because I’m working all the time.” – stories and stats from the squeezed middle
“unfair pay in the wider workforce also has adverse impacts on the wider economy and on all taxpayers. This is not only because of the obvious effect of low pay on suppressing spending, but also because levels of debt tend to be higher where pay gaps are wider. At the bottom end of the pay scale, there is a direct cost to taxpayers. The Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) estimates that pay below the living wage costs taxpayers £6bn a year in benefits and forgone revenue.”

Go to the Movies!
I would strongly recommend the film Inside Job, a penetrating account of the financial crisis from an American viewpoint, narrated by Matt Damon. It will not offer you much comfort as it points out towards the end that virtually all the economic experts recruited by Obama to sort out the mess come from the investment banks which played a leading part in creating the mess in the first place – and also that many of the most distinguished economists from the elite universities in the USA lack objectivity because they have received large sums of money from these same investment banks.

You can watch it on your computer through this link, running time of two hours:

Social immobility
Despite evidence that social mobility is low in the UK…
…and that income inequality is likely to increase, which will push social mobility even lower…
…the belief that Britain is a meritocratic country where social mobility rules, may be driving public views of welfare reform…
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