Billions Are Spent To Support The Rich In The UK, Says Study

Homeless in UK

UK spends more than any other Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) country on financing structural inequality in favor of the rich, the latest research by UK charity Equality Trust has found.

According to the report titled Cost of Inequality, Britain spends £106.2 billion ($133.8 billion) annually to subsidize income, wealth, and power inequalities compared with the average OECD country. Compared to the top five most equal countries, inequality costs the UK £128.4 billion ($161.8 billion) a year in damage to the economy, communities, and individuals, the report revealed.

The report says:

Over the last few decades, inequality in the UK has increased rapidly. In particular, this has benefited the super-rich, to the point that the UK’s 171 billionaires now hold as much wealth as over 40 million of the rest of us:

  • 0.02% owned by the bottom 10%.
  • 48.6% owned by the top 10%.
  • 90th percentile owns 19.8%.
  • While billionaire wealth sky-rocketed by over 1000% since 1990, the rest of us have been left behind.
  • The UK’s inequality has left us more unhealthy, unhappy, and unsafe than our more equal peers.
  • It is also causing huge damage to our economy. Over-reliance on the financial systems that allow for massive profits and wealth hoarding has hollowed out our infrastructure, encouraged massive regional disparities, and left us vulnerable to shocks and recessions.
  • There is also a direct financial cost to inequality. As well as hurting our economy and communities, the UK is effectively spending huge amounts every year to subsidise the costs of inequality.
  • The UK’s inequality has left us more unhealthy, unhappy, and unsafe than our more equal peers.

The UK was one of the most equal of rich countries in the 1970s. Today, it is the second most unequal, after the US, experts noted.

 “Inequality has made the UK more unhealthy, unhappy, and unsafe than our more equal peers,” said Priya Sahni-Nicholas, the co-executive director of the trust. “It is also causing huge damage to our economy: We have shorter healthy working lives, poorer education systems, more crime, and less happy societies.”

According to the study, the wealthiest 1% of Britons are the most protected top 1% group in Europe, paying lower taxes than rich people in any large European country. Researchers noted that inequality is more than just economics but rather the culture that divides and makes social mobility impossible.

“The mere accident of being born outside the 1% will have a dramatic impact on the rest of your life: It will reduce your life expectancy, as well as educational and work prospects, and affects your mental health. The cost of the super-rich is just too high for the rest of us,” Sahni-Nicholas claimed.

The report said:

This is across just four outcomes. The true cost of our inequality will be much higher. This is an enormous sum of money spent each year; larger than the annual budget for the Department of Education or Universal Credit and dwarfing the cost required to fix the NHS crisis.

Inequality is strongly correlated with violence. In this case, the UK is already performing at the level of the average of the 23 countries for homicide rate.

According to the UK Home Office, the total cost of homicide to society can be calculated at £3,217,740.

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