Inequality Costs UK £39 Billion per Year

The social and economic impact of inequality costs the UK the equivalent of over £39 billion every year, according to new research from The Equality Trust.

The UK has the second highest level of inequality of the developed OECD countries. The Equality Trust research has estimated that if inequality was reduced to the average level seen in these countries, the UK could expect to:

  • Increase average healthy life expectancy by 8 and a half months, at a value of £12.5 billion
  • Reduce mental health illness rates by 5 per cent, at a value of £25 billion
  • Imprison 37 per cent fewer people, at a value of £1 billion
  • Experience 33 per cent fewer murders, at a value of £678 million

The cost of dealing with social issues associated with the UK’s high inequality has been estimated at £39,312,152,414. If this was broken down to an individual level, it would show that the impact of inequality on every man, woman and child is the equivalent of £622.

Duncan Exley, Director of the Equality Trust said:

“We know that inequality is a major cause of social problems from crime, to poor health to low educational performance, and that it is psychologically scarring, reducing trust in strangers and isolating individuals. But what we didn’t know is how much a fairer UK would be worth to its people.

“It can no longer be argued that inequality is harmless, or worse, that it is desirable. The cost of dealing with its effects is astronomical. In the UK today, one hundred people have as much wealth as the bottom 30 per cent of households. This inequality is costing the nation its health, happiness and financial security.

“A more equal UK would experience less crime and imprisonment, better mental health, higher healthy life expectancy, and would be a socially and financially richer society. We therefore call on all political parties to commit to an Inequality Test; to include in their manifestos an explicit goal that the net impact of their policies will be to reduce the gap between the richest and the rest.”

The full report can be found here.