Rising Wealth Inequality a Threat to Future Generations

The Equality Trust has responded to research published today by the IPPR and Channel 5 which finds that wealth inequality is on the rise, with the wealthiest 10 per cent of households owning 45 per cent of the country’s wealth. The report also found that a majority of people would support new measures to equalise wealth. 

Dr. Wanda Wyporska, Executive Director of The Equality Trust, said:

“It’s incredible to see the levels of inequality in this country, and to see politicians continue to bury their heads in the sand. This is not natural, it is the result of decades of political decisions that have benefitted the rich first, and left the rest of us behind. 

“The evidence is clear that more unequal countries such as the UK suffer from poorer physical and mental health, lower educational outcomes, and higher rates of violent crime. Is this the sort of country we want to pass on to future generations?

“Reducing inequality would provide huge benefits to society, and be overwhelmingly popular. The Government, and all political parties, must develop a comprehensive inequality reduction strategy if they are to build a country we can all be proud of, and where everyone can fulfil their potential.”

Separate research conducted by The Equality Trust, using data from the Sunday Times Rich List, found the gap may be even wider than the IPPR’s research suggests, with the richest 1,000 people in the UK alone holding considerably more wealth than the poorest 40% of households. The wealth of these 1,000 people increased by a staggering £82.5 billion last year, the equivalent of £226 million a day, or £2,615 a second. The Equality Trust has found that this increase in wealth of £82.5 billion could:

  • Pay the energy bills of all 25.6 million UK households for two and a half years. Cost = £79.15 billion OR
  • Provide 5,143,819 million Living Wage jobs, or 2,923,333 million jobs paid at an average salary. Cost = £82.476 billion OR
  • Pay the grocery bill for all of the UK’s users of food banks for 56 years. Cost = £81.5 billion OR
  • Pay two year’s rent for 4.5 million households (4,528,000 households).  Cost = £72.1 billion OR
  • Pay everybody in England’s council tax bill for a year. Cost = £27.6 billion OR
  • Pay for 68% of the budget for the NHS in England Cost = £81.6 billion OR
  • Pay for 4 years of adult social care in England. Cost = £78.8 billion

The Equality Trust is a registered charity that works to improve the quality of life in the UK by reducing economic inequality. UK income inequality is among the highest in the developed world and evidence shows that this results in poorer mental and physical health, higher violent crime, poorer educational outcomes and lower levels of trust. Inequality affects us all. For further comments or to arrange an interview, contact info@equalitytrust.org.uk