Date issued: 17 December 2020
Colchester Council has vowed to step up efforts to tackle inequality in the borough.
The declaration follows a Motion proposed jointly by Cllr Tina Bourne (Lab) and Cllr David King (Lib Dem) and agreed by Full Council on 3 December, which commits the authority to address inequality gaps that have widened during the coronavirus pandemic.
Members responded strongly to the call to build on the positive response of the council and the wider community during the crisis, to tackle widening social and health inequalities in the borough.
Acknowledging the scale and complexity of the task, members resolved to rise to the challenge with the support of a coalition of statutory and voluntary groups in the One Colchester partnership.
Relationships built between the council and One Colchester prior to the pandemic enabled a swift, joined-up and effective response to the Covid-19 crisis. Continuing this work will be essential in addressing the inequalities made worse by the pandemic.
To this end the council is developing a new Communities Strategy, alongside One Colchester, to build on the skills and strengths that exist within Colchester's communities to confront the causes and consequences of social and health inequalities.
The Motion identifies several next steps, including:
- Twice-yearly reporting on inequality across the borough using national, county and local profiles
- Introducing local measures with outcomes that raise the life chances of vulnerable groups or neighbourhoods
- Evaluating the impact on inequality in council decision making.
- Encouraging formal and informal partnerships to contribute positively to reducing inequality across the borough
- Inviting local MPs to take on the mantle of reducing inequality in the constituencies they represent.
Cllr Mark Cory, Leader of Colchester Borough Council, said: “The pandemic has shone a light on deprivation and health inequalities in the UK that together have conspired to make some communities far more susceptible to this terrible virus.
“Coronavirus has made tackling deprivation an ongoing challenge in our own borough, but it is one that we can overcome with the support of One Colchester and others.
“The more unequal a society is, the more we all suffer. These inequalities are becoming more and more deep-rooted and we need to tackle them at the cause. This council agreed, cross-party, that we must be bold and tackle this worsening problem. The Motion affirms our commitment to work with our partners to support the most vulnerable members of our community and tackle the causes of inequality.”