Tag Archives: inequality

Beyond the European Union: Inequality in British society is the biggest Issue that we face

I am a solid “Remainer,” believing that the United Kingdom is better off inside the European Union, particularly in terms of the economy but also because of the standards which the EU upholds in terms of consumer protection, human rights, commitment to protecting the environment and assuring our security.

In fact, I would like to push towards a more equal society in Britain – an idea which seems to escape the majority of the right wing and, unbelievably, some of the extreme left wing as well.

Although I am not an economist, it appears fairly obvious to me that the increasing gap …

Posted in Op-eds | 35 Comments

GINI Coefficient – is it really a measure of Press Power?

The Gini* coefficient provides an index to measure inequality. A measure of 0 shows everybody is equal, and 1 where the country’s income is earned by a single person. Allianz calculated (in 2015) each country’s wealth Gini coefficient and found the U.S. had the most wealth inequality, with a score of 0.80. As a comparison Rome’s top 1% controlled 16% of the wealth (compared to America’s 40%, today) with a Gini coefficient of 0.44.

How can a modern, educated, democratic society allow such a massive discrepancy in the distribution of wealth? The distribution of news (TV, Radio, Newspapers, Magazines etc.) …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 6 Comments

William Wallace writes: Stopping Brexit isn’t enough – we have to help the left behind

Larry Elliott in the Guardian the other day declared that the Remainers don’t have any answers to the problems of the Left Behind in Britain.  He didn’t bother to claim that the Leavers had any answer either.  Their commitment to deregulation (with abolition of the Working Time Directive one of their first targets) will hit marginal workers in insecure jobs; their hopes of cutting public spending will increase the gap between rich and poor and starve education and health of resources.

But what do those of us who support Remain offer the Left Behind?  Remember that the highest votes for the Leave campaign came in England’s declining industrial towns, and in the county and seaside towns that have also lost out from economic and social transformation.  Middlesborough, Skegness, Canvey Island and Wisbech all returned over 80% of votes to leave.  It was easy for the Leave campaign to encourage them to blame the globalised ‘liberal elite’ for their woes; they have lost out from globalization, and feel patronised and neglected.  Some of their grievances are justified; others are not.  The selling off of social housing and the incursion of private landlords into what were once Council housing estates is not a consequence of European rules or of immigration.  But the loss of the stable employment that their parents and grandparents had IS a consequence of open frontiers and technological change, and successive governments of all parties have failed to invest enough – in education and training, in housing, in infrastructure, in supporting the growth of new local entrepreneurs – to spread the prosperity of the South-East and the metropolitan cities across the rest of the country.

Liberal Democrat peers tackled these issues in a working party over the past year, the report of which is attached here.  We have submitted a resolution for the Spring conference to take the debate within the party further.  Our analysis, and our proposals, cut across several policy areas.  Greater investment in education and training, from pre-school to further education, is central.  Long-term finance for local start-ups, of the sort that the British Business Bank was intended to provide but which also needs nurturing at regional and local level, is essential.  A revival of social housing is urgent.  Most difficult of all, we have to find a way of rebuilding political trust: a revival of local democracy within communities that feel abandoned by all parties and agencies of government, and that see politics as a game conducted by well-off and well-educated people in London.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 33 Comments

Indirect and Direct Messages…

It was only as I went out of the door of a local building society that I began to realise that I might have been given at least one powerful message through changes that had been made there!

The changes? Now there was a permanent mini-food bank, a collection bucket for the local food bank and a prominent collecting box for the “Samaritans.”

Previously, every banking place I had ever used only ever had items and notices, etc., to do with direct economics. For the first time, items to do with other aspects of life were there too. No longer was finance being kept separate from ordinary, everyday life, in practice if not in explicit theory. My “bank” was now dealing with socio-economics and so facilitating life-money questions and comments!

Does a bank collecting food and money for local people, in an area with high house prices, especially for sea views, suggests that something may be amiss with our policies for the circulation of money?

The growth of food banks is concrete evidence that some of us are starving.

Are starvation and malnutrition structural parts of current socio-economic policies and practices?

A “yes” answer leads us to question what could be done about it. Some might answer, “Nothing!” Others might answer, “Charity.”

A “no” answer results in the need to seek and apply ways to change our current economic policies so that we do not have starvation etc. as a permanent part of our society.

Answers may depend upon perceptions of “The Market”. Does it function efficiently with minimal to nil government involvement? For whom is it “efficient”?

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Campaigning for higher and fairer taxes?

We need to talk about tax. The IMF’s annual report on the UK economy recommends that taxes should be raised, in order to reduce the deficit further without cutting public investment and services. Philip Hammond, it is reported, would like to do so; but he is opposed by the ideological (and Eurosceptic) right of his own party, and by the influential group of free market think tanks who were cheerleaders for the Brexit campaign.

The Taxpayers Alliance and the Institute of Economic Affairs have repeatedly argued that it’s impossible to raise more than …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 45 Comments

Resolution Foundation Report on Autumn Budget

Britain is on course for the longest period of falling living standards since records began in the 1950s, according to a report by the Resolution Foundation.

The think tank found that under plans set out by Philip Hammond in the Budget yesterday, the poorest third of households are set for an average loss of £715 a year by the end of the Parliament, while the richest third will gain an average of £185.

Liberal Democrat Leader Vince Cable commented:

This analysis exposes the reality of Britain’s economic future under this Conservative government.

The squeeze on pay and living standards is set to carry

Posted in News | Also tagged and | 7 Comments

Benefit Cuts Will Increase Child Poverty

A new report just released by the Institute for Fiscal Studies has found that benefit cuts will increase child poverty, especially in the North East and in Wales.

Absolute child poverty would increase by 4%, and three-quarters of that would be linked to the freeze to most working-age benefits and limiting of tax credits and universal credits to two children. Using forecasts from the Office for Budget Responsibility, combined with current benefit plans, the study shows child poverty will increase in each English region and nation of the UK.

Liberal Democrat Work and Pensions Spokesman, Stephen Lloyd MP, says

These figures from

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Recent Comments

  • User AvatarMichael 1 21st Feb - 6:56am
    @David Raw Thanks for highlighting Skidelsky's paper. Lets be clear the coalition was the biggest period of Keynesian economics EVER in Britain's history. The biggest...
  • User AvatarLorenzo Cherin 20th Feb - 11:10pm
    David I was active in politics in my early teens so at that time ! A few terrible people no more make the reputation of...
  • User AvatarSimon Banks 20th Feb - 10:54pm
    I drove past Creeting St Peter on Sunday. There was a sign to a place called Creeting Bottoms. The mind boggles.
  • User AvatarPeter Martin 20th Feb - 10:09pm
    @ Michael BG "As a liberal I am an optimist...." You'd have to be to contemplate that the EU would ever reform itself along the...
  • User AvatarPeter Martin 20th Feb - 10:03pm
    @JoeB, French unemployment rose in the late 70's as Keynesian economics was replaced by more neoliberal /ordoliberal monetarist economics. France also then started to try...
  • User AvatarMike Read 20th Feb - 9:40pm
    Just to add more balance and perspective on the Coalition years Education policies, as well as the Pupil Premium policy the Lib Dems managed to...