Tackling wealth and income inequality in the UK
United Kingdom / Freedom for Equality / 25 apr 2018
The UK has the seventh highest level of income inequality out of 30 countries in the developed world. While the top fifth of the population earn 40% of the country's income, the bottom fifth earn only 8%. Wealth is even more unequally divided in the UK than income: the 1,000 richest people have as much wealth as the poorest 40% of households. Wealth is also unevenly spread across Great Britain. An average household in the South East of England has almost twice (183%) the amount of wealth of an average household in Scotland.
Inequality affects all aspects of society, including health, crime, social mobility, economy and wellbeing. People in less equal societies are less likely to trust each other, less likely to engage in social or civic participation, and less likely to say they're happy.
The Equality Trust works to reduce economic and social inequality in the UK. They campaign for government policies that will reduce inequality at a national, local and individual level and raise public awareness on the impacts of inequality and how to take action to address it. Through their network of local groups, they encourage everyone to join their movement to demand a fairer UK, and provide materials for activists to get involved.
One of The Equality Trust’s key campaigns is for UK employers to disclose their top-to-bottom pay ratio. Their recent research highlights the sheer scale of extreme pay inequality, as two thirds of FTSE 100 CEOs are paid over 100 times the average UK salary.They advocate for legislation to require pay ratio reporting and for workers to be represented on the committees who decide executive pay. Another key campaign is for the progressive taxation of income and wealth. Recent research found that Britain's poorest households pay a greater proportion of their income in taxes than the richest, which The Equality Trust denounces as evidence of a broken, regressive tax system.
Through conducting and disseminated research, lobbying and campaigning and supporting local activist groups, The Equality Trust is not only spreading awareness of UK inequality, but they are mobilising the public to work towards solutions. With 18 affiliated regional groups across the UK, people dedicated to overcoming inequality can link up with others to lobby their local MP or take direct action in their area. Their support packs for activists help passionate individuals target key decision-makers, and those who influence them, so that action is taken to reduce inequality. They believe in the necessity of a large social movement demanding a fairer UK, which the government and big businesses cannot ignore.