Inequality ‘costs Britain £39bn a year

I am not surprised that the growing inequality between rich and poor is harming the British economy, nor that we are behind America in discussing it. The simple truth is that the Tories don’t want to discuss it – in fact, they want the complete opposite. They have always been the party of the wealthy and privileged few, and have repeatedly stated that fact. They may indeed start to do something about the widening gap between rich and poor, but only if there is so much pressure on them that they cannot avoid doing so. And with IDS brazenly prepared to ignore calls to appear before parliamentary select committees to justify and explain his actions, I think this is going to be a long time coming.

Benefit tales

Thinktank puts a figure on the annual cost of the gap between rich and poor and calls for politicians to act

The ever-increasing gulf between rich and poor in Britain is costing the economy more than £39bn a year, according to a report by the Equality Trust thinktank. The effects of inequality can be measured in financial terms through its impact on health, wellbeing and crime rates, according to statisticians at the independent campaign group.

Researchers pointed to the fact that the 100 wealthiest people in the UK have as much money as the poorest 18 million – 30% of all people – and said that the consequences of such unusually high rates of inequality needed to be acknowledged by politicians.

Duncan Exley, the trust’s chief executive, said economists in the US had begun taking the issue seriously but that the UK was behind the curve in understanding the…

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