It’s received little attention so far but five motions to the Labour Conference 2012 which were adopted unanimously have considerably strengthened Labour’s position on equality by a) placing inequality of income centre stage, b) making its reduction an objective during the lifetime of this government, and c) deciding to prepare the data necessary to having budget discussions that focus on income inequality.
The motions were no. 28 (Donnybrook, Dublin SE,) no. 30 (Hugh Geraghty CDW, Dublin SC), no. 87 (Ashbourne, Meath E), no. 94 (Labour Youth) and no.132 (Labour Equality).
I’ve looked at these motions and found them in general agreement. There are minor differences as to which of the measures of income inequality should be used and over techniques/terminology around “equality auditing”, “equality reporting” etc. However, the position in summary seems to be this:
- Labour has made the reduction of inequality of income not only a short term objective but also a measure of the party’s performance in government.
- Labour wants all policy and particularly budgetary measures audited so as to make it absolutely clear what effect they are likely to have on income inequality.
- In the event of Labour’s partners in government declining to effect equality auditing, it is Labour’s position to press ahead using whatever resources are available and to have the information so generated inform Labour’s cabinet contributions and public debate.
The full texts of the motions can be found here http://www.labour.ie/conference/schedule/ If I’ve misinterpreted or made some other error, I’ll be happy to be corrected.