Our research
How inequality is impacting the fabric of our city.

For the past four years, we have been documenting the impact of wealth gaps in Cambridge. Inspired by The Spirit Level, what we found has been sobering: 

housing:  House prices are unsupportable for the majority 

food: Hunger is widespread and growing

• health: The life expectancy gap is now 11 years between Newnham and Kings Hedges

• social care: Cuts have left vulnerable people with no help

In-Work Poverty among NHS Nurses

An outpatients wing at a UK hospital. Photograph by Lydia on Flickr, CC BY 2.0.

UNISON commissioned report suggests over 8 in 10 healthcare workers in financial difficulty with use of pay day loans and foodbanks.  

Covid 19 has put the spotlight on the critical role our healthcare workers play. But do nurses in NHS get the pay they deserve?

This report uncovers shocking levels of poverty and deprivation among public-sector healthcare workers in Cambridgeshire.

And yet dozens of millionaires live in Cambridgeshire. Inequality is clearly thriving in the very places where we are ill – hospital wards and healthcare clinics.

Over one third say they have no money left over for savings and many regularly borrow from family and friends. 

The report recommends Cambridge University Hospital (CUH) takes steps to ameliorate the high cost of living in Cambridge, focusing on housing, travel and childcare. 

Local Plan & Growth for Cambridge

Cambridge traffic jam local plan congestion

Cars on motorway on Flickr, CC BY 2.0.

What will the Greater Cambridge Local Plan mean for inequality, well-being and the environment in our city?

Can we create sustainable, low-carbon communities with
enough affordable housing? Can we create fairness and well-being for all?

The plan will shape the future of our city, and imagines significant growth with as many as 66,000 new homes by 2040.  And yet local people are not yet seeing their voices heard.

These two reports explore what this means for our city and alternative routes that place the emphasis on well-being and the environment.





Inequality Fund: Social Innovation Programme

By Kamilla Marianayagam,  Joe Farnworth-Mayers, Jane Li, Alexander Johnstone and Mathilde Foged Jensen.

Produced by students on the Cambridge Hub Social Innovation Programme for The Cambridge Commons 

This report provides research on the possibility of the establishment of an inequality fund in Cambridge, examining possible models the fund could pursue and a variety of funding opportunities the fund could rely upon.

Outlines the relative effectiveness of different models of the possible inequality fund, how they can be applied to the Cambridge context, and how they can gain funding..

The report recommends  a proactive gap-filling approach coupled with a type of citizenship forum, targeting the root causes of economic inequality.

A matter of life & death: Health gaps in Cambridge

By Dan Stevens on Unsplash

The Black report in 1980 called for a “total and not merely service-oriented” approach to health problems. We are still waiting. 

Inequality & deprivation have a profound negative impact on the physical and mental health of deprived people.

Cambridge has become a beacon of entrepreneurial success and prosperity over the past 30 years, or more.

The question is, has the economic surge contributed to lessening deprivation and improving people’s health? Or has it increased the obstacles to a good life for worse-off residents? 

Our report explores the evidence to see how inequality is affecting health.

Social care: From crisis to catastrophe in Cambridge

We set out the full devastating consequences of the enforced cuts from County Council services. 

Cuts in social care are not like potholes in the road, obvious to everyone. They harm people’s lives, health and well-being behind four walls, hidden from public view. We show:

  • Older people are having their incontinence pads changed less often and receive less help with their personal toileting, washing and bathing
  • Adults with mental ill-health are less able to get a much needed residential place
  • Children and young people in the council’s care are at greater risk of grooming, exploitation or abuse
  • Children, young people and their families in need receive less social work when they are at risk of deterioration or breakdown.

Wealth and want: Hunger and poverty shame Cambridge

Cambridge is lauded as a ‘success story’. This initial report seeks recognition of another side of this success – the gross inequality in Cambridge. 

Imagine an affluent, thriving city in one of the richest countries in the world where: 

  • House prices and rents are beyond the means of the great majority of the population and are among the fastest-rising in the country. 
  • Nearly 5,000 people cannot afford to feed themselves and are driven to food banks for their food. A third of them are children. 
  • More than 6,000 households – one in eight – are too poor to heat their homes adequately and must choose between living in cold homes or going without food. 
  • The city has a higher level of fuel poverty than the regional and national averages. 

Or read John Marais’ report The Struggle for Social Housing 

This is our vision for a fairer, healthier city. Join us to make this a reality in Cambridge.

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