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UK is one of the most unequal developed countries in the world

Inequality in the UK
Inequality in the UK

Oxfam’s latest poverty report makes grim reading for anyone involved campaigning against poverty in the UK. The UK has now been declared one of the most unequal developed countries in the world – a truly dubious position for a country with the fifth largest economy in the world.

Apparently things are getting worse as the gap between richest and the rest grows wider – the sort of thing expected in places like Russia and India where wealth is overwhelmingly concentrated in the hands of a few.

The Oxfam report used data from research published last year by investment bank Credit Suiss, showing that wealth inequality in the UK has risen since 2000 as the gap in wealth per adult between the lower segment and rest of the population has increased

Key points of the Oxfam report

  1. The richest 10 per cent of the UK population own over half of the country’s total wealth (54 per cent) with the top one per cent owning nearly a quarter (23 per cent), whilst the poorest 20 per cent share just 0.8 per cent of the country’s wealth between them.
  2. The accumulated wealth of Britain’s richest 1% is more than 20 times the total of the poorest fifth.
  3. Property, pensions and shares owned by around 634,000 of the UK’s richest people are worth 20 times as much as the assets held by the poorest 13 million.
  4. Property prices increases over the years in places like London as well as south-east England, have been significant boosting retirement schemes of the richest, while contrastingly, the less well off who rent and have no pension have seen their wealth remain unchanged or decline.
  5. Three decades of high-level inequality have had a profound impact, leading many people to believe that they have little stake in society and to feel locked out of politics and economic opportunity.
  6. The UK’s inequality problem was likely to be a contributing factor in the vote to leave the European Union because of the yawning gap between the haves and the have nots, with many people expressing distrust and disconnection with political processes and voting for change in the hope that it would improve their economic position.


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