Tag Archives: income inequality

Social Mobility stagnates, with those from poorer backgrounds having life-long disadvantage

The report out yesterday from the Social Mobility Commission deserves a closer look. It says that inequality is entrenched from birth.

Lib Dems have argued for years about equality of opportunity – that some are born into families which provide many more opportunities and better life outcomes, a great many others are born into families stuck in a cycle of poverty, low pay and diminished life chances.

When I read Sir Anthony Atkinson’s book several years ago, Inequality, these points were made and the revered economist gave ideas as to how he thought they could be tackled.

But year in, year out, the rich are getting richer and the poor poorer. The State of the Nation Report 2019 says that “urgent action needs to be taken to help close the privilege gap.”

Being born privileged means you are likely to remain priviledged, whilst being born disavantaged means you may have to overcome barriers to improve you and your children’s social mobility.

Their report says social mobility has stagnated over the last four years and something needs to be done about it. As this is a Government commission, I hope the Government is listening and does take immediate action. Austerity has gone on long enough and the effect is not only immediate but long-term.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , , and | 19 Comments

First Time at Conference – York

As a new member, my first experience of a Liberal Democrat conference was by and large a positive one. I loved York, and the place I stayed was beautiful and, thanks to the Lib Dems, not at all costly. I am not at all well, having had recent serious health problems, but I hoped to get a few clues as to what the Lib Dems are about, and I did.

What I noticed most about my first experience was the under-representation of the country’s poorest and neediest and the abundance of the middle/upper middle classes. I wasn’t at all surprised – it’s a problem politics seems to have across the board. The people who should be making their voices heard the loudest, shouting and crying about deprivation and poverty, were not. They’re not anywhere, not present in the public discourse, not present on TV or only in passing. Its a deafening absence.

It`s an absence that’s been hitting me particularly hard since I started watching all Charlie Chaplin`s films. The tramp character he portrays represents the current state of the working classes better than any public figure in or out of politics. With his ragged clothes, tiredness, hunger and constant way of searching all his pockets for money in hope rather than expectation.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 14 Comments

Inequality – it’s getting worse

The Office for National Statistics published data yesterday on economic well being. One of the main points from the ONS report was on household property wealth. This data shows that we now have even more inequality between generations. The report reads

The gap in net household property wealth between those aged 30 to 32 and 60 to 62 years has widened in the last 10 years; the net household property wealth of those aged 60 to 62 years was six times that of those aged 30 to 32 years during July 2006 to June 2008, however, this difference increased to 17 times by July 2014 to June 2016.

Also, research showed that consumers’ perceptions of their own financial situation has worsened for three consecutive quarters.

In Quarter 4 2017, the average aggregate balance was negative 1.6 – a decrease from positive 0.7 recorded in Quarter 4 2016. The chart shows a steady drop over the last two years.

Posted in News | Also tagged , , and | 19 Comments

Is income inequality in the UK growing?

We have yet to see the full text of all the motions to be debated at Spring Conference in York, but it appears that this motion on economic policy has been selected.

There is much in the motion I agree with, and some places where I think it is lacking, but it was this line in particular that caught my attention, in the “conference notes…” section:

growing inequalities in wealth and income, coupled with unfair and regressive action against the poorest people in the country, now exacerbated by the assault on welfare spending.

It struck me because the most recent analyses of income inequality in the UK that I have recently read have concluded that the trend since the early 1990s is of broadly stable levels of income inequality, with falling levels after the financial crash of 2008/9.

Posted in News | Also tagged and | 36 Comments

Income inequality at its lowest since 1986 – a good result for the Liberal Democrats in Government?

The Office of National Statistics has released information showing that income inequality is at its lowest rate since 1986.

From the BBC:

The largest fall during this period was a 6.8% drop for the richest fifth of households. They still had an average income, before tax and benefits, of £78,000 in 2011-12.

This was 14 times greater than the poorest fifth of households, who had an average income of £5,400. However, this group has seen their average income rise by 6.9% since the economic downturn.

After all taxes and benefits were taken into account, the top fifth of households had an income of

Posted in News and Op-eds | Also tagged | 44 Comments
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  • User AvatarTim13 21st Jul - 4:47pm
    John Marriott Just add: ...and west of Reading to your last sentence! I agree with David Evans and disagree profoundly with Laurence Cox. There MUST...
  • User AvatarDavid Raw 21st Jul - 4:37pm
    Well said, John. Like my old friend I'd love to know what experience Mr Pugh and Michael 1 have of being candidates, of fighting and...
  • User AvatarDavid Evans 21st Jul - 4:27pm
    Michael BG, Why do you ask such extremely loaded questions? David and John are talking about local government by-elections where no leaflets and little effort...
  • User AvatarDavid Evans 21st Jul - 4:13pm
    Laurence Cox, Bearing in mind that equality is one of our three fundamental values, I can't understand why you are suggesting a version of local...
  • User AvatarMichael BG 21st Jul - 3:59pm
    John Marriott, I am surprised that in North Kestevan it was possible to get someone elected for us without putting out any leaflets. In 1994...
  • User AvatarRob Bird 21st Jul - 3:56pm
    Brecon and Radnorshire is a beautiful area with lots of friendly people. I hope lots more Lib Dem’s will come down to help get Jane...
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