Economic cost of widening inequality in the UK

Tracy McVeigh, “Inequality ‘costs Britain £39bn a year’,” 16 March 2014, Guardian

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 EqualityTrust 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.

The research finds that some of the social consequences of inequality could be worked out by calculating reduced life expectancy, poorer mental health and higher levels of crime. The £39bn is equivalent to the government’s yearly spending on defence, according to the report, The Cost of Inequality. …

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