Inequality on our doorstep
Jimmy Perkins Digital Campaigns Officer
22nd May 2014
Recently, the Sunday Times published its annual Rich List. The list is a celebration of wealth in the UK, but one thing it doesn't mention is that while the incomes of the super rich are growing year on year, the gap between the rich and the rest is getting wider all the time. In fact, the incomes of the top 0.1% are rising four times faster than the lowest 90%.
At the same time that the incomes of the wealthy elite have skyrocketed, the communities that Oxfam works with in the UK know that austerity measures continue to hit the poorest families hardest.
Mother-of-one Tracy had to turn to the Tower Hamlets Foodbank run by the The Trussell Trust for the first time in January. She was referred by her daughter's social worker because welfare reforms had left the family without enough money to heat their house and feed themselves properly.
Her partner James works part-time as a teaching assistant in a local secondary school. But his hours have recently been slashed from 13 to just 7 due to council budget cuts. As he's only paid during term time, his average monthly income after tax is just £200.
The widespread media coverage of this report (including on the front page of The Independent's i, and pieces in The Mirror, The Guardian, The
Times, The Herald and The New Statesman) shows there is a growing consensus across the political spectrum that action to tackle inequality in the UK is long overdue.
"At a time when the five richest families in the UK have the same wealth as the bottom 20 percent of the population it is unacceptable that the poorest are paying such a heavy price."
As our Chief Executive Mark Goldring says "At a time when the five richest families in the UK have the same wealth as the bottom 20 percent of the population it is unacceptable that the poorest are paying such a heavy price."
Inequality is an issue that affects everyone the world over - even the Pope's talking about it. The super rich are rigging the rules in their favour and this growing extreme inequality is pushing more and more people into poverty. People have the right to jobs with fair wages and to decent public services. This is as true in Lagos as it is in Luton.
It's often been said that Oxfam has ignored poverty in the UK. While this is a myth, you'll be hearing a lot more about us tackling the causes of hunger and inequality in the UK over the next few months.
Keep your eyes peeled...