If you thought the wealth gap between rich and poor in this country was on an upward trend, you would be completely right! Some very revealing statistics have recently come from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) and they make for interesting reading. They provide proof that the fat cats just keep getting fatter, whilst the rest of the country struggles to live on the crumbs that are left over. The wealth gap is a serious problem, that needs to be addressed.
Before we start to analyse the actual income equality statistics here, it is worth noting that the top 1% of wage earners in the UK are believed to be most responsible for the horrendous crash and downturn that we are currently experiencing in the economy. Further, they are also said to be have been the most frugal individuals when it comes to protecting their assets from having to do their bit and help to get the country back on its feet. I don’t know about you, but these facts really do make my blood boil? Yet more proof of the fact that we live in a very unjust society! One where the Government never seem inclined to address such terrible wealth inequality.
So, turning our attention to the statistics which help to prove that there is a growing wealth gap in this country: we will start by stating that the top 1% of wage earners in this country have received an average pay increase of 117% over the past 25 years. This compares with the bottom 10% of wage earners who have only seen a mere 47% increase in their average pay over the same period of time.
There is some slightly better news for the very lowest 1% of wage earners, in that the introduction of the National Minimum Wage helped to boost their average pay up more significantly than it would have done otherwise. Nevertheless, it is said that wage earners in this bracket are still not earning anything like enough money to be able to lead a comfortable existence. The term ‘hand-to-mouth existence’ still seems more apt a description for such workers.
Other interesting statistics from the ONS focus on exactly where these wealth disparities tend to be the most prevalent and to be honest, these really are what you would tend to expect. For example, in London, the top wage earners are said to earn 16 times more than the lowest paid – no shock there then. In contrast, Wales is said to have the least disparity and this is where the top earners receive 7 times more than the lowest paid.
What is most worrying in this day and age is the fact that far too many people are still on a wage that is not considered to be enough to physically survive on, let alone having disposable incomes. The ‘Living Wage’ is set at £7.45 per hour and the Minimum Wage is a long way behind this rate. There definitely needs to be a re-think of the National Minimum Wage if we are going to ensure that more people and families are taken out of poverty – especially considering they are going out to work and not solely relying on the benefits system.