Inequality and poverty

Across the world, the gap between the rich and the rest is growing faster than ever. And this increasingly extreme inequality is destabilising economies, damaging societies and pushing more people into poverty.

How can we tackle inequality?

With extreme wealth comes the power to influence the rules. That means that we end up with government policies that favour the super rich, regardless of what would work best for the rest of us. These policies decrease social mobility, increase poverty and create economic instability (as we saw with the recent financial crisis). So extreme inequality isn't just unfair - it's downright dangerous. 

What are the major challenges?

The undue political influence of multinational companies and some super-rich individuals is at the heart of the biggest social, economic and environmental crises we face, both in the UK and globally. The good news is that it's not inevitable, it can be reversed, and we've all got a role to play in making that happen.

  • The super rich using tax havens to avoid paying their fair share
  • Governments propping up the banks while cutting essential public services
  • Low wages, unstable jobs, zero hours contracts
  • Allowing polluting industries to obstruct a global response to climate change

What can we do to rebalance our world? 

Extreme inequality is not natural or inevitable - it's the consequence of political choices. Governments worldwide have the option of implementing policies that can start narrowing the gap right now. We need governments to act to give us a system which works for the many, and not just for the hugely privileged few.

  • Implement progressive taxation policies which close tax avoidance loopholes
  • Investment in essential public services, like free healthcare and education
  • Legislate for a legal minimum wage which is also a living wage
  • Stop subsidies to fossil fuel companies and limit their lobbying power

Keep up-to-date

Read our blog posts on inequality below, follow @oxfamcampaigns, and like our Facebook page to get involved in the campaign.

The latest blogs on inequality and poverty

Thank you for taking action

Thank you to all our supporters who took action as part of our "Close Scotland's Inequality Gap" action. You asked both sides in the referendum debate what they would do to tackle inequality in Scotland. In doing so, you raised a critically... Read more

When even Middle England sees demand quadruple: An everyday food bank story

I thought of my own sad little middle class story of financial desperation. My first job in advertising and I was having to say no to a small portion of processed cheese in a grisly Southampton market. In my open plan office I had to plead over... Read more

Why does a Tax Dodging Bill matter?

May 2015 is an exciting chance for us all to believe in democracy again.  That sounds sarcastic but I really do like to indulge in the belief that our elected representatives, whoever they may be,  want to do their best for their country... Read more

We care about inequality. Do you?

Oxfam Scotland is challenging politicians on both sides of the debate on Scottish independence to say how they believe we should tackle inequality. Whatever the outcome, we know we need action.

Have your say on inequality

The world's richest 85 people have the same wealth as 3.5 billion people. 5 families in the UK have the same wealth as the poorest 20% of the population. The 10 wealthiest households in Scotland are 900 times wealthier than the poorest 10%. ... Read more