Inequality Watch

The Inequality Problem

This is an independent campaign site which uses data from respected organisations, presented in a visual and interactive way, to help raise awareness of the growing problem of inequality in the UK.

Inequality has grown steadily in the UK since the late 1970’s. The share of national wealth and income of the top 10%, and particularly the top 1%, has grown enormously since 1979. We need urgent action from politicians to reduce inequality, because it affects everyone and ultimately threatens our economic system.

See where you fit in here – and find out how much better or worse off you’d be if we took inequality back to the levels of the 1970’s. And see how austerity can be avoided here.

The richest 1% enjoyed 6% of Britain’s income in 1979, but now take a huge 15%

Why inequality is bad for us all

Economies need a degree of inequality to provide people with an incentive to work hard. But inequality in the UK goes way beyond the levels needed to achieve that goal. Here are four arguments why inequality is bad for us all – even ultimately for those at the top.

Undermines Democracy

Extreme wealth brings undue power and influence over government, resulting in policies that are not in the best interest of the majority. Examples:

Austerity

Unnecessary if the govt closed the tax gap!Here’s why

Climate Change

inaction in face of super-wealthy fossil fuel interests.

Why does the government allow such extreme inequality?

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The answer to this varies by political party. The Conservative party is funded primarily by wealthy donors who benefit from seeing taxes continue to fall. It would be naive to think that people who donate hundreds of thousands of pounds, or more, don’t expect something in return. Ministers are also very often personally extremely wealthy – they and their friends benefit from the overall lowering of tax on the rich. How many of these people are principled enough to make the right decisions? Not many, you might think, after the recent expenses scandal. As for the Labour party, it’s hard to imagine its members don’t think that inequality should be controlled, yet they do nothing worth mentioning about it. One reason for this is likely to be fear of retaliation from the largely right-wing press – mostly owned of course by super-rich proprietors who have a clear conflict of interest.

Inequality continues to worsen and, if left unchecked, it will break our capitalist model.