The UK seems to be out of recession, expanding 0,8% in the second quarter and is reducing unemployment to the levels reached before the 2008 economic crisis (Ryan J, 2014). This is due to the measures of monetary expansion in London that seem to work better than the Eurozone without generating too much inflation but despite its good economic times, inequality is growing, due largely to the creation of poor quality jobs and the cuts on the welfare system.
These indicators show that the British economy is expanding, but is equality only achieved through a growing economy?
Does it make any sense to achieve those glowing figures when their benefits are not evenly distributed?
It takes more than an efficient economic model to get a country out of a financial crisis. The policies that could be implemented in a good governance to tackle social inequalities play an important role in rescuing a nation from the abyss. The current government seems to only care about foreign investment and the financial sector, leaving aside social policies and divers its attention to immigration issues.
According to Oxfam, the five richest people in the UK have a fortune which concentrates 20% of the poorest population. The Duke of Westminster has a fortune estimated at 7.900 billion pounds and is greater than the wealth accumulated by 10% of the poorest population (George R, 2014).
Since the 80s and thanks to the politics implemented by Margaret Thatcher, the UK has become a deeply divided nation with a wealthy elite that sees their income rises, while millions of families are struggling to make to end of the month (Dorling D. 2011).
Inequality scenarios have happened in many countries, but they have taken steps to address the issue like Switzerland, where the government has implemented policies to tackle inequalities in work wages. The Netherlands have created more direct jobs than any other comparable EU country. This shift has been attributed thanks to a number of reforms agreed between unions and employers to restore competitiveness, wage moderation and reductions in working time (Afonso A, 2014).
The UK, instead, has been implementing measures to reduce public spending, The welfare cuts and changes to taxation have increase economic inequality so profoundly that is greater than the 1930s. Council Tax, for example, points out how it charges low-to-middle income families a considerably higher percentage of their disposable income than the richest British households (McGregor Luke, 2013). London has become a Tax Haven for the superrich, getting in the property ladder has become difficult for the middle classes and the access to Superior Education is a privilege enjoyed by the sons of foreign wealthy.
Is there any sense in rescuing a financial system only to give it back to the same group of people who actually destroyed it in the first place?
Is there nothing to be learn from European Models where they have higher education (in Germany is free), wages equality (Switzerland) and health quality (the efficiency of the French Model has increased life expectancy)?
When the blueprints of the society that we are building don’t have a pyramid with millions supporting a few at the top, we wouldn’t have to answers those questions anymore and we will be seating in a big round table sharing the benefits of our hard work but in the meantime, the questions lie there, staring shamefully in front of us.
Afonso, A. (2014) How to solve an economic trilemma. Available at: http://opinion.publicfinanceinternational.org/2014/10/how-to-solve-an-economic-trilemma/
Dorling, D. (2011) Injustice: Why social inequality persists. The Policy Press.
George R (2014). The UK’s five richest families are wealthier than the poorest 20% of the population combined. Available: http://oxfam.org.uk/blogs/2014/03/5-richest-families-in-uk-are-wealthier-than-poorest-20-pc. [Accessed on: 8 November 2014]
McGregor, Luke. (2013)UK inequality rising more quickly than under Thatcher – report. Available: http://rt.com/news/uk-inequality-growth-thatcher-382/. [Accessed on: 8 November 2014]
Ryan J (2014). U.K. Overcomes Record Slump With 0.8% Quarterly Growth: Economy Abailable at: http://bloomberg.com/news/2014-07-25/u-k-overcomes-record-slump-with-0-8-quarterly-expansion-1-.html. [Accessed on: 8 November 2014]