Bid to bridge the city’s wealth divide

AN INDEPENDENT commission is to look into the causes and impact of inequalities in Sheffield.

The Fairness Commission has been set by the council to take evidence from individuals and organisations at a time when some parts of the city are becoming more deprived and the gap between the wealthiest and poorest people has increased, despite strategies designed to reduce it.

More than 50,000 local households are now believed to be living in poverty.

Council leader Julie Dore said: “We are determined to tackle inequalities in Sheffield but the reasons for them can be extremely complex.

“We felt the best way to investigate this would be through an independent commission that can listen to people from across the city and produce recommendations for making future improvements.”

The body will be composed of invited individuals with proven knowledge on key social and economic issues - asked to contribute expertise rather than represent specific interests.

The independent chair, Prof Alan Walker of the University of Sheffield, said: “It is about the kind of city that we all want to live in, about Sheffield’s future.

“I am delighted to chair the commission because I believe that the potential of our great city is being held back by its deep social divisions.”

The commission is initially inviting written evidence on the causes of poverty and inequalities and priorities to be considered.

It will take oral evidence in public over the coming months and recommendations will follow in September.