5 December 2011
Income Inequality in Britain
Income inequality in Britain is growing even bigger.
A recent OECD report has provided some figures for income inequality in Britain. It is worth noting some of these.
In 1985 the income ratio between the top and bottom deciles of the population was 1:8. By 2008 that figure had grown to 1:12. In comparison, the ratio in other northern European countries (e.g. Germany, Netherlands) had deteriorated from 1:5 to 1:6 over the same time period.
Even that masks the growth of income of the very rich: i.e. the top one percent of the population. In 1970 they took home 7.1 percent of national income; by 2005 the figure stood at 14.3, with the top 0.1 percent alone taking around 5 percent of pre-tax income.
In the 1970s and 1980s taxation and benefits were able to re-distribute around half of the increases in income going to the richest. By the 2000s that figure fell to 20 percent.
Opinion polls in Britain show that around two-thirds of people believe that income inequality is too big.
Finally, it should be noted that the OECD report is based on official documentation. In reality, the rich receive more than is ever officially attributed to them through a variety of legal and illegal means.