WBG responds to Liz Truss comments that the ‘equality debate can’t be led by fashion’

Date Posted: Thursday 17th December 2020

It’s great to see that the Government recognises the need to take action to address poverty and socio economic inequality. A first step would be to enact the socio-economic duty in the 2010 Equality Act which was scrapped by the Coalition Government. This would oblige public bodies to have ‘due regard’ to addressing inequality based on class.

But this isn’t a binary choice between focusing on poverty/class and focussing on other inequalities. We know from our own work that class, race, gender and disability all intersect. For example austerity policies since 2010 hit the poorest black and Asian women the hardest. Low paid and unemployed black women lost around £5000 a year as a result of cuts to universal credit and other social security benefits, even when the increase to the living wage was taken into account.

Joint work by the Runnymede Trust and the think tank CLASS showed how class and race intersect as well as our own work on causes and consequences of women’s poverty.

If the Government is serious about addressing poverty it needs to recognise that women, disabled people and people of colour are more likely to be poor.