The paper examines Newport City Council’s Fairness Commission’s (NFC) understanding of fairness, alongside a survey of Newport citizens’ views on fairness. These views focus on two parameters of debate identified by the NFC – equality versus differential treatment, and the accountability and transparency of decision-making – reflecting competing interpretations of the political concept of fairness, and as explored by W.B. Gallie. Moreover, these contested interpretations also have a profound bearing on post-1945 debates about citizenship instigated by T.H. Marshall. While many contemporary policy-recommenders and politicians reject Marshallesque social rights to citizenship, dismissing these rights as encouraging so-called ‘passive’ conceptions of citizenship emphasising unconditional individual entitlements to local services, the views of Newport citizens tend to broadly support these rights. These rights are distinct from ‘active’ conceptions, emphasising the values of interdependency and reciprocity, and citizens’ obligations to positively participate in community life which then underpin conditions for receiving entitlements.