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Report into unfairness and inequality

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: December 13, 2013

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An independent commission set up to address unfairness and inequality in Plymouth will publish a report of its key concerns later today.

The Plymouth Fairness Commission was established in April of this year to look at a range of issues in the city, from the cost of living crisis to the state of the local economy. It conducted a "Summer of Listening" and will today outline key areas of concern.

Dame Suzi Leather, chairman of the commission said: "Making Plymouth a fairer city has already started – there is more talk now about fairness, more discussion about what needs to change.

"This report is the summation of what the people of Plymouth have told us about fairness and unfairness, and what we believe we must focus on to really start addressing some of the unfairness being felt and lived across the city.

"We want fairness to become part of our city's vocabulary, and addressing unfairness to be a joint commitment of all, whatever age, origin, place of residence, education or work, whatever religious or political persuasion"

Over the past six months, the commission has engaged with more than 1,000 local residents, businesses, academics and community groups to pin down the key issues of fairness and unfairness in the city.

It highlighted eight main areas of concern including strengthening communities, individual and family wellbeing, young people and young adults, and the cost of living crisis. Housing, strengthening the local economy, discrimination and social exclusion, and the implications for an ageing population are also on the list.

On the cost of living crisis, the commission said: "We have heard the message loud and clear that, like in many other cities, Plymouth residents are struggling to cope with the rising cost of living.

"Some of the areas we will explore include the living wage, affordable credit, a sustainable food economy and co-operative ways to pay less for household basics."

And on wellbeing, it added: "We are concerned to hear that when people need help, they may be finding it difficult to see a doctor, dentist or other health practitioner, particularly around mental health.

"We are also concerned about the high level of family violence and will explore the adequacy of attempts to address the unmet mental health needs and domestic violence across the city."

After today's "position statement", further research will be conducted ahead of the commission's final recommendations in March.

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