Social Justice - Simon Hughes

Social Justice

Our country, our continent and our world is still so unfair.  There is almost no country in the world where the gap between the top 10% and the bottom 10% of income isn't widening - although to our huge credit, one of the almost secret legacies of the coalition government was that we reduced that gap for the first time in decades in this country.  So the battle for equality and social justice must always be fought.  We need a fairer taxation system where those with the most contribute more, and those with the least have to pay less to the state.  We should tax the accidental increase in land values, and share the profits in the community.  We should make sure the community benefits from increasing values of undeveloped land.  The massive increase in good quality housing which we need in most parts of the UK should often be council or other social housing or shared ownership and 'affordable' in the way that most people understand.  We must continue to invest in our National Health Service to meet increasing demand and increasing long life.  In particular, priority must be given to supporting those with mental illness and giving them parity of treatment with those with physical needs - and we must urgently reverse increasing obesity and diabetes.  My eldest brother died of malaria;  thank God people like Bill and Melinda Gates are showing how we can rid the world of malaria, TB and the like.  Social justice requires equal opportunities of good health and this requires the investment in the science and research and the political commitment to deliver.  And then education.  One of the joys of my many years in Bermondsey has been my association with local primary and secondary schools, colleges and universities, and youth organisations.  Good education from the childrens' nursery to the classes for retired people is the way of changing the world.  The National Theatre's production of 'Our Country's Good' in 2015 made the case again so well.  The arts and education really can change the world.