UK spends billions to support the rich – report
Britain 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.
“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 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.
The report said that over-reliance on financial systems that allow for massive profits and wealth hoarding has hollowed out British infrastructure, encouraged enormous regional disparities, and left the country vulnerable to shocks and recessions.
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