NEW independent commission has been launched to explore the root causes and drivers of inequality and offer solutions to tackle these issues across Greater Manchester.
With a diverse membership of eminent thinkers and doers, the Independent Inequalities Commission will draw upon evidence of the existing and emerging inequalities in the city-region and make specific, hard-hitting and deliverable recommendations for action to improve the lives of residents across Greater Manchester.
The group held its first meeting on Friday to set out a roadmap for its work over the next six months, before publishing its findings in March 2021.
Acting in an independent capacity, the Commission will report back to the Mayor and leaders of the 10 local authorities. It will initiate a conversation with and draw upon the work of existing groups and equalities programmes across Greater Manchester, as well as reaching out across communities to help produce its recommendations.
The Independent Inequalities Commission will be chaired by Kate Pickett, Professor of Epidemiology and Deputy Director of the Centre for Future Health at the University of York
Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham said: “Throughout the coronavirus pandemic it’s become painfully clear that the worst off in our society have been hit hardest. As we respond to the impact of this crisis and begin to plot our recovery, we have to ask what we can do to address the shocking levels of inequality in our society.
“The Independent Inequalities Commission will be asking those tough questions. They will engage with residents and organisations across Greater Manchester, and the work they do will feed directly into our plans for the future of our city-region.
“COVID-19 is reshaping our economy, but we all now have a chance to do things differently. If we don’t, the devastating economic impact of the pandemic will echo for years to come.”
Cllr Brenda Warrington, Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) Lead for Equalities, said: “We know that this crisis has exploited the deep inequalities that exist in our country, and there’s a real risk that these gaps could only grow if we don’t recover in the right way. We cannot simply return to business as usual.
“The Independent Inequalities Commission will provide the expertise and insight to help us tackle these inequalities across Greater Manchester and, we hope, the country as a whole. The work that they will do over the next six months will be a key contribution to our ongoing efforts to create a fairer society.”
Prof Kate Pickett, Chair of the Independent Inequalities Commission, said: “I’m honoured to be appointed as Chair to the Greater Manchester Independent Inequalities Commission. Greater Manchester has a proud history of political, economic and social leadership for equality, and the Commission is committed to building on that tradition to give policy makers and communities solutions for addressing inequalities and creating a strong and sustainable future everyone within the region.”