According to the Sunday Times Rich List Britain’s wealthiest people have even more cash than ever before, amassing a combined fortune of almost £520bn. In addition the total wealth of the richest 1000 individuals climbed by 15% in a single year.
Compare this to the overwhelming majority of working people whose real wages have been dropping consistently since the recession began. The Office for National Statistics found that real wages have fallen by 2.2% annually since the first three months of 2010.
The Institute for Fiscal Studies recently produced a report that suggested that the average household’s income between 2013 and 2014 was 6% below its pre-crisis peak and that although the fall in incomes has appeared to have ended, the average household might not see its income recover until at least 2016.
Furthermore the ONS concluded that the drop in wages from 2010, following the financial crisis, was the longest period of fall since 1964.
Yet the Rich List identified 104 billionaires living in Britain who had a combined wealth of more than £301 billion, meaning Britain has more billionaires per head of population than any other country. This highlights the stark fact that Britain’s richest 1% has now accumulated as much wealth as the poorest 55% of the population put together.
The disparities in wealth in Britain are growing ever wider. Wealth for the few and poverty for the many is becoming embedded in our society and none of the political parties have any willingness to seek to address this imbalance. In fact David Cameron jumps to the defence of the tax dodger Gary Barlow, whilst “benefit cheats” are pilloried and criminalised.
Isn’t it time we changed the whole system? We should stop accepting such vast wealth as the norm as it perpetuates a society where poverty is also accepted as an integral part.