A recent report discovered that the United Kingdom allocates more funds towards perpetuating wealth inequality in favor of the wealthy compared to other European countries.

According to a study of 23 OECD countries, the UK allocates the highest amount of funds in Europe towards supporting structural inequality in favor of the wealthy.

The Equality Trust’s report on the cost of inequality states that the UK loses £106.2bn annually compared to other developed countries in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) due to disparities in income, wealth, and power.

In contrast to the top five countries with the most equality, the UK incurs a cost of £128.4bn annually due to inequality, resulting in harm to the economy, communities, and individuals.

Addressing the issues within the NHS, such as allocating funds for necessary upkeep, recruiting additional personnel, and raising salaries, would require an estimated total of £66.7bn over a span of 15 years.

Priya Sahni-Nicholas, co-executive director of the trust, stated that inequality has had negative effects on the UK, making it less healthy, happy, and safe compared to other countries of similar equality. It also has detrimental impacts on the economy, resulting in shorter healthy working lives, lower quality education systems, higher crime rates, and less overall happiness in society.

During the 1970s, Britain ranked as one of the most economically equal countries among the wealthy nations. However, in present times, it has fallen to second place in terms of inequality, with the United States taking the top spot.

According to Sahni-Nicholas, inequality comes with a significant financial burden. By organizing society in a way that prioritizes huge profits for the wealthy, we have faced tremendous consequences.

She stated that depending too heavily on financial systems that prioritize large profits and hoarding wealth has depleted our infrastructure, leading to significant regional inequalities and making the UK susceptible to unexpected events and economic downturns.

According to the findings of the study, the wealthiest 1% in the United Kingdom are the most affluent top 1% group in Europe. They also pay the lowest taxes compared to similar groups in other major European countries. The author of Inequality and the 1%, Danny Dorling, stated that the advantages of enabling this trend to persist are difficult to justify.

The speaker believes that inequality is not just about money, but also about the societal divide that hinders social mobility. Being born outside of the wealthiest 1% can greatly impact one’s life, from longevity to opportunities for education and employment, and even mental well-being. The speaker argues that the cost of having a super-rich class is too great for the rest of society and calls for urgent action to address this imbalance.

According to Stewart Lansley, who wrote The Richer, the Poorer and The Cost of Inequality, it is a perplexing contradiction in modern capitalism that as societies become wealthier, more and more people are unable to afford even the most essential material and social necessities.

According to him, the rate of child poverty in Britain has increased by two times in the past 40 years. However, very few wealthy business owners live without extravagant modes of transportation, such as private jets and luxury yachts, and even own private islands.

Lansley is attributing the concentration of growth profits to a select few wealthy individuals in the financial and business sectors, which he claims is aided by government policies.

According to him, a significant number of issues in Britain, such as a struggling economy, depleted public services, stagnant or decreasing standards of living, a significant increase in child poverty since the late 1970s, and a decline in social stability, can be attributed to the exploitation of the economy for the benefit of the wealthy.

Lansley notes that a significant portion of our current economy is focused on unproductive actions that prioritize individual gain, which is a departure from the entrepreneurial culture promised by Margaret Thatcher and Tony Blair.

According to Lansley, there are multiple reasons for the increased wealth of those who were already wealthy. However, these reasons do not benefit society much. Currently, 90% of Britain’s national assets and infrastructure are privately owned, making it one of the most heavily and narrowly owned economies among wealthy nations.

Source: theguardian.com