FMQs 15th November 2011 – Equality

Mark Drakeford: A wnaiff y Prif Weinidog ddatganiad am y polisïau y mae ei weinyddiaeth yn eu dilyn ar hyn o bryd i helpu i wneud Cymru yn gymdeithas sy’n fwy cyfartal.
[Will the First Minister make a statement on policies currently pursued by his administration to help make Wales a more equal society.]

The First Minister: Our anti-poverty action plan and strategic equality plan will combine to deliver a positive difference to the lives of people living in Wales.

Mark Drakeford: Thanks to the work of the Newport equality group, a number of us were able to hear recently from Professor Richard Wilkinson, as he again marshalled all the evidence that demonstrates, right across the globe, that more equal societies enjoy better health, do better economically and have less crime. Yet, in the same week as he was here, a plethora of research reports indicated that Britain has embarked on another period of sharply increasing inequality. Will you give us an assurance that Welsh Ministers will continue to use whichever levers are at their disposal to resist that trend in Wales?

The First Minister: Unequal societies are unhappier societies. There have been a number of studies that confirm that and many of us will have read the book, The Spirit Level: Why More Equal Societies Almost Always do Better, which is an interesting study of how more equal societies are more cohesive and happier than societies where inequality is huge. As a Government, we are committed to creating a fair and just society. We recognise the broad range of issues that this encompasses. An example of our commitment to narrowing inequalities within society is our ‘Fairer health outcomes for all’ strategic action plan, which aims to reduce inequities in health.