UK at Risk of Intergenerational Disadvantage

Responding to today’s report by the Social Mobility Commission, which found a £6,800 ‘class pay gap’ between professionals from working class backgrounds compared to colleagues from more affluent backgrounds, Dr. Wanda Wyporska, Executive Director of The Equality Trust said:

“This report lays out clearly that the deck is stacked in favour of the rich, while those facing disadvantage are caught in an intergenerational trap. There is still a huge gap between the opportunities and life chances of the poor and the wealthy. Many of those from poorer backgrounds are trapped in low paid jobs, earning a pittance, and with very few opportunities to progress. The scandal of our times is not only are they condemned to a life of disadvantage, but their children are also caught in this trap.

“This isn’t just a colossal waste of talent, it also leads to the extreme levels of inequality we see in this country, with dire consequences for us all. In more unequal countries like the UK you’re more likely to suffer from poor mental and physical health, less likely to achieve a good education or trust others, and more likely to be a victim of violent crime.

“Levelling the playing field is vital, but it’s also impossible without tackling the huge inequality in wealth, income and power we see in this country today.  To see everyone fulfil their potential we need to narrow the gap. That means a fair tax system, transparency on pay, and social security that not only provides a genuine safety net, but also allows people to keep more of the money they earn. Only then can we prevent disadvantage being passed down from one generation to the next.”

Notes to editors

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.

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