BLOG: National Living Wage Week and Marmot Community Status
As part of National Living Wage week, Liverpool City Council’s Deputy Mayor Cllr Jane Corbett, who is also the Cabinet Member for Finance and Resources, tells us more about the city’s plans to achieving ‘Marmot Community Status’, and how improving outcomes for local people – enabling them to live longer, healthier and poverty free lives – is such an important priority.
“Back in February 2010, Sir Michael Marmot published his ‘Fair Society Healthy Lives’ report which outlined the scale of health inequalities in England and the actions required to reduce them. The report highlighted the need to take action across the social determinants of health calling for action to be taken on the following six policy objectives, to:
Give every child the best start in life
Enable children, young people and adults to maximize their capabilities and have control over their lives
Create fair employment and good work for all
Ensure a healthy standard of living for all
Create and develop healthy and sustainable places and communities
Strengthen the role and impact of ill-health prevention
while giving recognition to local government as the key pivotal partner in addressing health inequality.
A decade on, Sir Michael published his follow up report, ‘Build Back Fairer’ – which confirmed our worst fears. Not only had the situation worsened dramatically during the previous ten years, but the pandemic had further widened the gap, increased the already high levels of poverty, and undermined the health of a huge number of people of all ages, including children.
It highlighted that:
Inequalities in social and economic conditions before the pandemic contributed to the high and unequal death toll from Covid-19
The nation’s health should be the highest priority for government as we rebuild from the pandemic
That economy and health are strongly linked – managing the pandemic well, allows the economy to flourish in the longer term, which is supportive of health
Reducing health inequalities, including those exacerbated by the pandemic, requires long-term policies with equity at the heart
To build back fairer from the pandemic, multi-sector action from all levels of government is needed
Investment in public health needs to be increased to mitigate the impact of the pandemic on health and health inequalities, and on the social determinants of health.
Liverpool is working with partners in Cheshire and Merseyside, including local government, health, voluntary, community and faith sectors to become a ‘Marmot Community’ and take action on our ‘Marmot priorities’.
We have recognised for many years the link between low income, chronic stress and poor health outcomes and have worked to address this.
A Liverpool Fairness Commission was held in 2011 and completed in 2012. In 2013, in response to the Commission, we set up the Poverty Action Group which has helped drive the anti-poverty work in the city ever since.
And in 2014 we asked the Bishop of Liverpool, Bishop Paul Bayes, to chair the Fairness and Tacking Poverty Strategy Group for public and private partners to work together on this.
As a Council, since 2015 when the Government withdrew the funding, we have invested £22 million into the local welfare scheme we call the Liverpool Citizen Support Scheme (LCSS) and our Discretionary Housing Scheme to support our residents struggling to make ends meet. We will do all we can to ensure everyone in our city is treated with respect, and dignity – and has enough money in their back pocket to thrive – not just survive.
Our aim is to become a Living Wage Accredited Council by this time next year. That is a big commitment, especially in the current economic climate, but we are determined to do this.
Becoming part of the Marmot Community will help us to be able to reach our goals.“