How people feel about the place they live – the liveability of their place – has a significant impact on whether they consider society to be fair. In particular, we found that inclusive and healthy local areas are seen by the public as an important aspect of fairness. Improvements to communal spaces, the cultural offer and cohesion of local communities, as well as addressing issues such as the social determinants of health, could play a critical role in improving the experience people have of the place they live.
Successive governments have sought to deliver on the devolution agenda, but people still consider the state, national and local, to be remote and unresponsive. For devolution to make a meaningful contribution to making the country fairer, the government needs to consider how it will give more power to towns and rural areas as well as how devolution could create a better sense of local connection and ownership among citizens.
Policymakers should reflect on why society feels unfair to a significant proportion of the population. Our research suggests many people who think society is unfair feel they are not being listened to. And yet it is clear many have a strong appetite to engage in the decisions that affect them: almost half (48%) of respondents to our survey want to get involved in decisions about their local place. If the government wants to see real change in what people see and feel is to be delivered, a new approach to public engagement is needed.