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Frome – a town of growing inequality?

Last week Fair Frome organised it’s first campaign debate. 

As well as running the Food Bank, Community Dining events, Kitchen Pack and Laundry Schemes and other projects designed to meet the needs of people in the town who are struggling to make ends in a crisis, Fair Frome is also tasked with raising a debate on the causes of poverty.

The event saw over 60 people, individuals as well as organisations, pack the Assembly Rooms to listen and debate with speakers from the Equality Trust, Bath University, Kate Hellard from Fair Frome and the Mayor of Frome Peter Macfadyen.

The Mayor outlined the work the town council was doing to tackle inequality in the town including a proposal to make the council and it’s contractors a Living Wage employer as well as giving more money to voluntary groups such as the Toy Library and Children’s Centres in the town to address their funding cuts, through their grants programme.

Bill Kerry from the Equality Trust outlined the huge impacts of inequality on health, education and employment opportunities for local communities and the impact this is having on Frome. He made a strong case that greater equality is a pre-condition for a more sustainable way of life and made the challenge to all local politicians to demonstrate how their policies would reduce inequality.

Mark Baldwin from Bath University and Marie Porters presentation tackled the myths around “benefit scroungers” and pointed out that changes to welfare benefits would mean that of 14.1M working age households with someone in work 7M will see entitlements reduced by an average of £165 a year.

Bob Ashford the Chair of Fair Frome said after the meeting, “This was the first event of its kind held by Fair Frome to address the causes of poverty in the town.

“With other local partner organisations, public, private and voluntary, we are already providing practical support to people in Frome who need that help and doing what we can to tackle inequality. It’s clear though that we have to do more and the event and the strong feelings and creative ideas  have created an excellent foundation and call to action for everyone who cares about making Frome a fairer town to live in.”

For more information about Fair Frome, their campaign events or any of their other projects please contact info@fairfrome.org or call 07714 587129.