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Wednesday 8th December 2021

Let’s talk about earnings inequality, Theresa!

Brexit

Theresa May has been Prime Minister for just over six months, and when she took over the country’s top job, she inherited a lot of baggage. The most hefty case she was given to lug was Brexit which, if you were in any doubt, means Brexit. One of the suggested contributing factors to the Brexit vote was the feeling, in many of the poorest parts of the UK, that they were being forgotten by the government, and they wanted to make a stand. This shone a light on something that has been frequently unaddressed by our leaders – the earnings inequality between the highest and lowest earners. It’s a difficult notion to stomach, that (according to the Trussell Trust) around 1.1 million people across the country needed to use food banks last year, when Nigel Farage and Michael Gove were eating golden dodo eggs* with Donald Trump.

A recent study by Oxfam showed that the total wealth of Britain’s wealthiest 1% is more than 20 times the total of the poorest fifth. In numbers, this is approximately 643,000 people having accumulated assets that add up to more that 20 times the assets of the poorest 13 million people. This makes the UK one of the most unequal countries in the developed world. This has resulted in a country divided by an ‘us’ and ‘them’ attitude, between the ‘have’ and ‘have-nots’ – with the have-nots feeling helpless and valueless to the decision makers up high. The report, published in September last year, called for the Prime Minister to address the inequality between the richest and poorest in the country. By curbing excessive pay and bonuses, having more representation on boards, and extra funding for skills training, they can ensure that more people get into work and off the poverty line. I wonder though, can this really work, or are we destined to live in an unequal society forever?

An Oxfam report, released in January 2017, highlighted that eight billionaires control the same wealth as the poorest half of the world’s population. This is terrifying.

You see, although the UK is leading the way with earnings inequality, it is not unique. A further report by Oxfam, released in January 2017, highlighted that eight billionaires control the same wealth as the poorest half of the world’s population. This is terrifying. And the richest will stay rich because a precedent has been set, and companies will pay the big bucks to get the best people in to run the show. However, it hardly seems fair that these companies make their money from exploiting their lowest paid workers. Is it any wonder people are rebelling?

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Theresa May seems to have a lot going with negotiations and deals, but let’s hope that she has some consideration for the folks at the bottom end of the pay scale. When people are forgotten, they become restless and angry. When people feel they are being treated unfairly, they become restless and angry. It seems that the time for people accepting their ‘place’ is over. Something needs to happen, and soon. We’ve seen the response of the unhappy and underpaid masses in the election of Donald Trump – when a billionaire can make himself seem like ‘one of us’ to the poor, you know there’s a huge problem. May needs to learn from the USA, that if you’re not considering the entire range of your constituents, there’s usually someone extreme with ‘Everyman’ rhetoric, waiting in the wings to step up to the plate.

And that’s enough to put you off your dinner!

*genuine menu items may differ…

Rosie Earl

Uber-geek and tv addict. Keen writer and professional trainer in the financial sector. Rubbish at maths

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