The idea was to set up a campaign, originally on a short-term basis, with the aim of raising the issue of income inequality higher up the political agenda, especially around the time of the 2010 General Election.
Inspired by the Spirit Level and other publications – which had cogently argued that high inequality had a negative effect on societies and economies, both for those at the bottom and the top of society – One Society would take a non-partisan approach, working with all the main political parties, to promote policies which would reduce the gap between rich and poor and take the UK towards a more equal society.
As a starting point, One Society worked with Demos to produce three pamphlets to present the case that a more equal society is both advantageous and plausible, with each pamphlet tailoring its argument to a different one of the three largest UK political parties. Over this period, One Society also worked alongside the Equality Trust in asking parliamentary candidates to sign the Equality Pledge – currently signed by 87 MPs in the new parliament.
When the initial funding cycle came to a close, One Society organised an event along with funders, stakeholders and prominent third sector organisations in order to evaluate the campaign thus far, and to assess whether or not there was the necessary requirement and enthusiasm for the project to continue. Following on from the event, One Society’s steering group came to the decision to apply for a further 3 years funding from the Network for Social Change; this was successful.
Following the departure of the original Campaign Director Malcolm Clark, Duncan Exley was appointed and took up the position from December 2010, setting out a new three-year strategy.