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Tuesday, 18th March 2014

A Tale of Two Britains: Inequality in the UK

Source: Oxfam GB

Inequality is a growing problem in the UK. Whilst austerity measures in Britain continue to hit the poorest families hardest, a wealthy elite have seen their incomes spiral upwards, exacerbating income inequality which has grown under successive governments over the last quarter of a century.

Since the mid 1990s the incomes of the top 0.1 percent have grown almost 4 times faster than the incomes of the bottom 90 percent of the population. In real terms, that means the richest 0.1 percent have seen their income grow by more than £461 a week, the equivalent of over £24,000 a year. That’s enough to buy a small yacht or a sports car. By contrast the bottom 90 per cent have experienced a real terms increase of only £147 a year – insufficient to insure a family car. That equates to £2.82 a week – the average cost of a large cappuccino.

Today, the five richest families in the UK are wealthier than the bottom 20 per cent of the entire population. That’s just five households with more money than 12.6 million people – almost the same as the number of people living below the poverty line in the UK.

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Having begun his career in academic libraries, Adrian Janes has subsequently worked extensively in public libraries, chiefly in enquiry work as an Information Services librarian. In this role he has had particular responsibility for information from both the UK Government and the European Union. He wrote a detailed report on sources for the latter which was published by FreePint in 2007, and has contributed articles to FreePint and ResourceShelf. He is involved in training in information literacy and the use of online reference resources.

A Contributing Editor to DocuTicker, he also write reviews for Pennyblackmusic.

Adrian can be reached at adrian.janes@freepint.com

More articles by Adrian Janes »

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