Tackling Inequality, 29th November

The Children’s Wood, The Maryhill Burgh Halls Trust and The Glasgow Equality group are organizing an afternoon of cinema, talks and discussion around the topic of income inequality in Scotland as part of Book Week on 29th November, 12-4pm, in The Maryhill Burgh Halls.

This event will explore the wide-ranging impact of income inequality on society, focusing on the picture in Scotland. The event is based on the best selling book, The Spirit Level by Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett, which argues that income inequality is bad for everyone.

The event includes a preview of the ‘not yet released’ film, inspired by the Spirit Level book: The Divide: what happens when the rich get richer. Director Katharine Round will discuss the background to the film before the 12 o’clock showing (see quotes from Katharine below). The documentary unravels the impact of income inequality on society and will set the context for the event.

The remainder of the afternoon will examine the relevance of the film in Scotland, by examining the impact of income inequality in Scotland, and more specifically in Glasgow. There will be a focus on what, if anything, people can do to help reduce the gap.

David Walsh from the Centre for Population Health will present current statistics on inequality in Scotland, and he will also focus more specifically on Glasgow.

David Walsh from the Centre for Population Health said:

From a health point of view, Scotland has the widest health inequalities in Western Europe. To a large degree these are an extension of the country’s extremely wide inequalities in socio-economic factors, including – and especially – income. In the current economic climate, in which it is predicted that income inequalities are set to widen further, it is vital that people understand the negative effects of living in such an unequal society, and use that knowledge to urge governments to do all they can to redistribute income to create a fairer, and ultimately, healthier, country for everyone

Income inequality is an urgent issue. According to recent research by Oxfam Scotland, Scotland’s four richest families earn 1 billion more than the poorest 20%. Globally, the combined income of the richest 1% now equates to that of the 99% of people, confirmed by Credit Suisse just last month.

Dr Carol Craig, author of The Tears that Made the Clyde will present a historical perspective on why Glasgow has so many problems such a domestic violence and drug abuse; linking them to income inequality.

Carol Craig from The Centre for Confidence and Well-being said:

Reading The Spirit Level by Wilkinson and Pickett was the inspiration for The Tears that Made the Clyde. Everything they said about what happens with inequality just summed up to me a lot about Glasgow’s history and culture. It is fantastic that these three Glasgow organisations have managed to get a pre-screening of a film which is bound to make an impact when it goes on general release next year.

There will be stalls at the event with different campaign groups tackling poverty in Glasgow for example The Poverty Alliance, Oxfam Scotland, Homestart and Free Wheel North.

Peter Kelly, Director of the Poverty Alliance said:

‘The existence of poverty and inequality is bad for everyone.

‘Scotland, and the UK, are among the richest countries in the world, and we can afford to ensure that everyone has enough to participate fully in society.

‘We must do more to ensure that all children in Scotland are able to live up to their potential, and tackle inequality in all its forms.

Lisa Stewart, Campaigns and Communications Manager at Oxfam Scotland, said:

We shouldn’t live with poverty, in Scotland or anywhere else.

We are increasingly aware of the barrier that extreme economic inequality represents in tackling poverty. Yet poverty and inequality are not inevitable, they are the consequence of deliberate political and economic choices. Here in Scotland, the scandal of poverty is a daily reality for around one in five people. In our rich country, we should all be impatient for faster progress.

Oxfam’s vision is of a world without poverty. Significant progress has been made: in just 15 years, extreme global poverty has been halved. In 15 more, we can end it for good.

Home-Start Glasgow

Income inequality perpetuates an inter-generational vicious circle of poverty and deprivation that hits the most vulnerable in our society. Home-Start family support volunteers see first-hand the impact of inequality on families with young children in North Glasgow. We know that children’s early years are a crucial time for physical and emotional development, laying the foundations for physical and mental health and wellbeing later in life. Yet in many parts of Glasgow, children are being born into situations where the odds are stacked against them. We urgently need to work together as a society to tackle income inequality and build a country where every child has the support and resources they need to reach their full potential in life.

 There will be lots of opportunities for discussion and ways for people to get involved to make an impact on income inequality in Glasgow, including in depth discussion at the end of the event.

Spokesperson for the Glasgow Equality Group

We are particularly interested in income inequality in Glasgow. There are actions people can take locally to make a difference to income inequality. We hope to promote the Equality Trust’s Make My Council Fair Campaign at the event so that local people can take small steps to make change.

Emily Cutts, Chairperson of The Children’s Wood

The Children’s Wood is delighted to be involved in organizing this event and to encourage discussion and debate on this topic. We feel strongly that the local environment can play a role in minimizing the impact of income inequality, particularly we’re interested in the impact of community greenspace on various outcomes such as reducing the achievement gap, improving mental and physical health and for improving well-being in more unequal areas. It’s shocking that only 28% of children in the most deprived areas in Scotland have access to natural environments/wooded areas

Christine Grady, Heritage Manager of Maryhill Burgh Halls said

As a developing heritage site, Maryhill Burgh Halls not only aims to preserve the history of Maryhill, but to drive forwards the enterprising, community-focused spirit the halls were originally founded on. By providing a space for the creative, diverse and forward-facing local community, the Halls aims to provide opportunities for community empowerment and sense of ownership in tackling local issues.

More about the Film

The Divide tells the story of 7 individuals striving for a better life in modern day US and UK – where the top 0.1% owns as much wealth as the bottom 90%. By plotting these tales together, the film reveals how every aspect of our lives is controlled by one factor: the size of the gap between rich and poor.

Director, Katharine Round Said

The genesis of ‘The Divide’ came from being given a copy of ‘The Spirit Level’, the landmark book on inequality written by Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett. The book was an exploration of the relationship between rising income differences and various social outcomes, told through a variety of graphs and charts.

When I saw those charts it struck me that every point on those graphs represented millions of ordinary lives – the charts had a human meaning beyond a mere statistical correlation. So I set out to tell this story through the voice of lived experience – not just statistics, but real people: to see, and feel, at first hand what the data meant.

I wasn’t sure whether you could tell a big picture story through the interweaving experiences of a cast of individuals & families, people whose lives are on different sides of the same economic coin, but whose experiences in a world of growing inequality had many parallels. I spent many months talking with community groups and individuals across the UK and it was through this I met Darren in Glasgow and Rochelle in Newcastle. Viewing the world through their eyes, and those of five others in the US, we uncover just how far our lives are controlled by one factor: the size of the gap between rich and poor. The film has been called “beautiful, funny, heartbreaking and hugely important” in preview screenings so far, which has been very encouraging. I’m looking forward to bringing it to Glasgow.

Background to inequality

UK income inequality is among the highest in the developed world and evidence shows that this is bad for almost everyone. People in more equal societies benefit from a stronger community life, longer lives, better mental and physical health and children do better at school. When inequality is reduced people trust each other more, there is less violence and rates of imprisonment are lower. In other words, income equality is good for everyone.

Event schedule

12pm pre screening talk with Director Katharine Round followed by screening of the film (arrive from 11:40)

2pm – stalls

2:30pmTalks with Carol Craig and David Walsh

3:30 discussion workshop – make my council fair


Booking is essential. The event is free, though we would welcome a £5 donation to help us cover the costs of the event. Book a space through eventbrite http://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/tackling-inequality-tickets-19040489617?aff=es2


Centre for Population Health http://www.gcph.co.uk/people/42_david_walsh

The Tears that Made the Clyde http://www.centreforconfidence.co.uk/glasgow.php

The Divide documentary http://thedividedocumentary.com/

Make My Council Fair https://www.equalitytrust.org.uk/make-my-council-fair

The Maryhill Burgh Halls Trust http://www.maryhillburghhalls.org.uk/

The Children’s Wood www.thechildrenswood.com

The Equality Trust: www.equalitytrust.org.uk

The Poverty Alliance: http://www.povertyalliance.org/

Oxfam: http://www.oxfam.org.uk

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