Thursday, 16 April 2015

The gap between the richest and poorest region in the UK is the biggest in Europe


To download the full pdf, click here
Explaining the data
These figures are taken from data compiled by Eurostat, the data agency of the European Union. Although we have only shown figures for a selection of countries commonly compared with the UK in terms of equality and economic success, there is no other country in the whole of the EU where the richest region is nearly 5 times as rich as the poorest. The currency used by Eurostat is the ‘Purchasing Power Standard’, an economic measurement that accounts for differences in the value of different currencies, as well as the different costs in different areas.  Full data is available from   


Saturday, 28 March 2015

Great wealth exists in the UK alongside unimaginable poverty

Since 2009 executive pay has soared and the number of billionaires has increased, while food bank use has rocketed and pay for ordinary workers has fallen


To download the full pdf, click here

Explaining the data
The data on UK billionaires is taken from the Sunday Times rich list, which can be read on-line, for a subscription fee. The data on executive pay was compiled for the High Pay Centre by Incomes Data Services, who looked at pay for Directors of FTSE 350 companies, the 350 biggest companies listed on the London Stock Exchange. You can read the full report here. The Office for National Statisticsrecords figures for wages across the whole UK workforce. Both directors’ and workers’ pay has been adjusted for inflation. Finally, the number  of people given at least 3 days worth of food by a Trussel Trust foodbank is taken from the Trust’s website.


Wednesday, 11 March 2015

The rich get richer, the poor get poorer. What a surprise!

Between 2007 and 2013, cash benefits paid to the richest fifth of the population increased by 42%. For the poorest fifth, benefits fell by 5%

Since the recession, cash benefits have INCREASED for the richest fifth of the population, but declined for the poorest fifth
To download the full pdf, click here

Explaining the data
Here we have relied on a dataset produced by the Office for National Statistics. This data tracks the effects of taxes and benefits on household income over time. The series runs from 1977 to 2013 and is available here (table 14a). These figures are produced based on the average amount of cash benefits, original income and gross income received by households across the income distribution. We have rounded figures to the nearest whole number for clarity, but for accuracy the bottom, middle and top income quintiles of the income distribution saw an average real-term change in their receipt of cash benefits by 4.6%, 3.3% and 41.6% respectively. Calculations are based on RPI deflation


Wednesday, 25 February 2015

From Race Equality Matters: Electing without Prejudice


Free speech
Hard facts
Real debate

Britain’s social fabric rests on a strong bedrock of democratic political discussion. The freedom to debate and argue the issues of the day, great and small, gives lasting strength to our elected institutions.
That bedrock is threatened by those who abuse open debate and stir up prejudice and fear. Such activities make individuals the targets of violence and abuse. They obscure the real issues at stake, sowing mistrust and misunderstanding instead of open, public debate in which all can take part. Such activities, and those who pursue them, should be rejected by all.
Every voter wants to know that an election campaign was a fair one, however hard and passionately it may have been fought. Every voter has the right to the facts upon which to base their decision on the rival solutions offered by different candidates. Every candidate has the right to have their proposals considered objectively. Everyone working for the public has the right to have their efforts judged on the basis of information that is as objective as possible, not on supposition.  
All of us have a role to play in seeing that an election campaign gets to the heart of the issues. Candidates, political parties, local councils and other public bodies, voluntary, community, charitable and trade union organisations, can all contribute to an election campaign that gets to the heart of the issues and is conducted in a responsible manner.
Racism, racial hatred, prejudice and misunderstanding are serious dangers in Britain today. We call on all who have a role to play in ensuring that our elections are fair and truly free, to join us in supporting this call for an election campaign rid of the exploitation of prejudice.

To achieve

   vigorous debate during the coming election campaigns around the issues facing Britain today;
      full participation by all involved - candidates, electors and the wider public; and
    a secure and open atmosphere during election campaigns so that all electors feel able take part in debating the issues, challenging candidates and gaining a proper understanding of their different approaches and proposed solutions;

We call upon those

      putting themselves forward for election;
      seeking to take part in election debates; and
      public authorities responsible for ensuring that the rights of electors, of candidates and of the public in general are properly fulfilled;

To support the following principles:

Candidates standing for election should
      work for a welcoming Britain which values all its people, celebrates its diversity and provides equality of opportunity for all;
      commit that, if elected, they will seek to represent everyone, and not pitch one group against another for short-term political or personal gain;
      ensure they do not take actions or use words likely to generate prejudice or hostility between different groups.
Leaders of political parties involved in an election should
      guarantee that their party, its candidates and campaigners abide by the above principles and that where complaints are made of activities that may be likely to stir up prejudice, these will be properly investigated, with appropriate action taken and publicised, if the complaint is upheld.
Those responsible for electoral arrangements should
      join in actively encouraging the participation of electors in the electoral process.
Those responsible for public safety and security during election campaigns should
      ensure that all electors and candidates can take part in the campaign, and proceed to cast their votes, free of intimidation and fear.
Public bodies serving our communities should
      prepare for the controversies that surround elections and consider in advance how to challenge misperceptions in the local community relevant to that authority’s particular responsibilities, its own work or the impact of that work on people locally;
      refute any false or misleading information circulating in the area relevant to their responsibilities that could lead to racial hatred or damage relations between people from different racial groups. They should act on the basis of the objective information available to the authority.†
Voluntary, community, trade union and other interested bodies should
      enable voters to have access to objective information on issues that concern the organisation and those it serves. Voters have a right to be able to learn from the diverse experiences of different bodies, their members and those they serve, who in some cases may be the best, if not the only, source of such information.

Further advice on the law, elections and political campaigning

Detailed advice on different aspects of electoral law as it affects candidates, campaigners, interested bodies and public authorities can be obtained from the Electoral Commission at

The Charity Commission for England and Wales provides specific advice for registered charities.
The Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator does not offer guidance of its own. The advice is designed for registered charities but is applicable to other voluntary and related bodies.
† Code of Recommended Practice on Local Authority Publicity

A Code of Recommended Practice on Local Authority Publicity was issued by the Department for Communities and Local Government on 31 March 2011 and is available at

The relevant paragraphs of the Code state:
16: Local authorities should not use public funds to mount publicity campaigns whose primary purpose is to persuade the public to hold a particular view on a question of policy. It is acceptable for local authority publicity to correct erroneous material which has been published by other parties, despite the fact that the material being corrected may have been published with the intention of influencing the public’s opinions about the policies of the authority. Such publicity should seek to explain the facts in an objective manner.

19: Where local authority publicity addresses matters of political controversy it should seek to present the different positions in relation to the issue in question in a fair manner.

31: Publicity by local authorities may seek to influence (in accordance with the relevant law and in a way which they consider positive) the attitudes of local people or public behaviour in relation to matters of health, safety, crime prevention, race relations, equality, diversity and community issues.

32: Local authorities should consider how any publicity they issue can contribute to the promotion of any duties applicable to them in relation to the elimination of discrimination, the advancement of equality and the fostering of good relations.
Does the code permit local authorities to publish factual material by way of correction or rebuttal of inaccurate statements that promote discrimination or harassment, or promote or constitute other unlawful acts during an election period? 
Following a debate in the House of Lords on the Local Audit and Accountability Bill, Baroness Hanham made it clear in a Ministerial Statement on 15 July 2014 that local authorities may correct false information:
‘…[T]he publicity code explicitly provides for a local authority to correct or rebut misinformation, making explicit provision in the sections about objectivity and care during periods of heightened sensitivity. Moreover, it contains provisions about equality and diversity, specifically allowing local authority publicity to seek to influence the attitudes of local people or public behaviour in relation to matters including equality, diversity and community issues.
During an election period, for example, local authorities may publish factual material. A local authority should take care when issuing publicity and should not be issuing publicity that seeks to influence voters. However, this does not prevent an authority from fulfilling its role in seeking positively to influence people in terms of equality and diversity. Hence if there is disinformation in circulation promoting harassment, a local authority may take action to correct it at election time or indeed any other time…[Emphasis added]. Nothing in the publicity code prevents local authorities addressing issues of discrimination or harassment and tackling them head on.’

HL Deb 15 July 2013 col. 602 [Lords Chambers]

The Local Government Information Unit provides practical guidance for local authorities on the Publicity Code which is available at

The Public Sector Equality Duty

Guidance on the public sector equality duty (PSED) can be obtained from the Equality and Human Rights Commission at:

Section 149 of the Equality Act 2010 imposes a duty on public authorities when exercising public functions to have due regard to the need to:
a) eliminate discrimination, harassment, victimisation and any other conduct that is prohibited by or under the Act
b) advance equality of opportunity between persons who share a relevant protected characteristic and persons who do not share it
c) foster good relations between persons who share a relevant protected characteristic and persons who do not share it.
This duty applies to the protected characteristic of race (which includes colour, ethnic or national origins and nationality) as well as to sex, disability, sexual orientation, religion or belief, gender reassignment, age and pregnancy and maternity.
Section 149(3) explains that having due regard to the need to advance equality of opportunity involves having due regard, in particular, to the need to –
a) remove or minimise disadvantages suffered by people who share a relevant protected characteristic that are connected to that characteristic,
b) take steps to meet the needs of people who share a relevant protected characteristic that are different from the needs of people who do not share it,
c) encourage people who share a relevant protected characteristic to participate in public life or in any other activity in which participation by such people is disproportionately low.

Section 149(5) explains that having due regard to the need to foster good relations between persons who share a protected characteristic and persons who do not share it, involves having due regard, in particular, to the need to
a) tackle prejudice, and
b) promote understanding
Certain listed public authorities are also subject to additional specific duties relating to the publication of equality information and the setting of equality objectives, which are intended to enable the better performance of the s.149 duty.
Guidance in support of the PSED refers to participation in elections as included in the definition of "public life and other activities" in section 149(3)(c).

Produced by Race Equality Matters 2015


Saturday, 17 January 2015

Poorer Children are already disadvantaged before they even start school. Differences in income hinder children's progress from a very young age

Poorer children are less likely to be ready for school meaning it is more difficult for them to make progress in their education

To download the full pdf click here

Explaining the data
Academics analysed a group of children at the age of 3 and 5, comparing their school readiness and their reading age. They compared the average score for each income group, ranging from the richest fifth to the poorest fifth, to the overall median. In each category, Children in the poorest fifth averaged a score that was well below the overall median, while the richest fifth were significantly above the median. So, for example, the average 3 year old born into the richest fifth of the population scored 63 (meaning a score higher than 63% of all children) for school readiness, while the average score in the poorest fifth was just 32. Obviously, the median for all 3 year olds was 50, below the richest, but above the poorest. This chart is taken from Professor John Hills’s book ‘Good Times, Bad Times: the welfare myth of them and us’ published by ‘Policy Press’ in November 2014.


Monday, 12 January 2015

Wellingborough Diggers Festival 2015: Programme of events

Wellingborough Diggers Festival 2015: Programme of Events:

Saturday 28th February 2015 for one week: Display about the Wellingborough Diggers (Fringe - Free admission)
Venue: Wellingborough Museum, Castle Way, NN8 1XB. Open 10am-4:30pm daily

Friday 6th March 2015 (Fringe - Free event)
Talk by Andrew Bradstock (United Reform Church and The Social Justice Forum) 
Venue: Friends Meeting House, St. Johns Street, Wellingborough, NN8 4LG
Time: 7:30pm 
Theme: "Food banks, Hunger and History; What can we learn from the Wellingborough Diggers 1650?"
This discussion will be chaired by Martin Heath (BBC Radio Northampton)
No ticket required but please email Tony Banks at if you are interested as seats are limited.
Although this is a free event, we suggest a donation of £4 to help cover some of the costs. We would also like to use this opportunity to collect tins of food to be donated to the local food bank.

Saturday 7th March 2015 (Fringe - Free event)
Talk by Andrew Bradstock
Venue: Wellingborough Library, Pebble Lane, NN8 1AS
Time: 12noon- 1pm
Theme: "Gerrard Winstanley: The Man and His Ideas"
This discussion will be chaired by Ian Foreman (Wellingborough Diggers Committee Member)

Saturday 7th March 2015 (Fringe - Free event)
Discussion to commemorate International Women's Day
Venue: Wellingborough Library, Pebble Lane, NN8 1AS
Time: 2pm- 4pm
Theme: "Should Women have Human Rights?"
This discussion will be chaired by Deidre Eadey. Guest speakers Jess Anslow and Cllr. Andrea Watts.

Saturday 7th March 2015 (Fringe - Free event)
'Protest Song'- Song-writing Workshop with Phil Hare
Venue: The Horseshoe Inn, Sheep Street, Wellingborough, NN8 1BS
Time: 2pm - 3pm
You don't need to play an instrument to get involved! Please email me at if you are interested in taking part.

Saturday 7th March 2015 (Fringe - Free event)
Live Music 
Artist: Lexie Green and the Indigo Blue (4pm-6pm)
Artist: The Song Birds (8pm)
Artist: G-String (9:30pm-late)
Venue: The Horseshoe Inn, Sheep Street, Wellingborough, NN8 1BS

Saturday 7th March 2015 (Main Festival Event - Tickets)
Venue: The Georgian Suite, The Hind Hotel, Sheep Street, Wellingborough, NN8 1BY (please note due to the age and nature of the building there is no lift)
Time: 7:30pm - late
Music will be performed by: 
  • Phil Hare - performing contemporary songs that reflect social/political change
  • Kev Buxton - our very own local Kontra Roots promoter and musician
  • Rapscallion our headliners for this year who are influenced by The Pogues, The Levellers and include the Diggers song in their repertoire!
There will be a second-hand book stall on the Friday and Saturday evening events. Feel free to have a browse and buy - all proceeds from sales will go towards the 6th festival and fringe.

Tickets for the evening event Saturday 7th March 2015:
General Tickets £10 (or £8 concessions).
Please send cheques payable to Wellingborough Diggers with ticket order details, contact telephone number and a stamped address envelope to:
Wellingborough Diggers
c/o 3 Grove Street