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

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

3 Families Wealthier Than Poorest 20% of People in Scotland

The richest 3 families in Scotland own more wealth than the poorest 20% of the Scottish population put together, according to a new estimate of inequality released by Oxfam Scotland.

The Scottish Doughnut: A safe and just operating space for Scotland

How can Scotland ensure the needs of all its citizens are met while living within environmental and planetary boundaries? The Scottish Doughnut report released today depicts where Scotland is falling short on social and environmental justice,... Read more

How your campaigning support helps Oxfams UK Poverty work

Our recent Below the Breadline report and the subsequent debates that it triggered online and in the media drew a lot of attention to the work that Oxfam does on poverty in the UK. Importantly, it showed how much this issue matters to both the public... Read more

Hanes dwy wlad- mynd i’r afael ag anghydraddoldeb yng Nghymru

Kirsty Davies sy'n myfyrio ar ei 100 diwrnod cyntaf fel Pennaeth Oxfam Cymru.