Today (16 October 2014) is Blog Action Day. Thousands of bloggers around the world are talking about inequality. Here’s our contribution: a collection of pictures, which explain why we need to Close the Gap between rich and poor in the UK.
1 It doesn’t have to be like this!
Most other wealthy countries share out their wealth more fairly. We used to do the same, but over the last 40 years we’ve allowed the super-wealthy to get richer and richer, while the rest of us get poorer.
2 It’s bad for all of us.
Countries with big gaps between rich and poor are miserable places to live. They have the highest rates of crime, violence, mistrust, mental illness, suicide and incarceration.
Fairer countries are happier, healthier, safer places to live.
(If you’d like to see the evidence for this, check out The Spirit Level, a documentary that’s coming soon – or the book it’s based on.)
3 The poor are treated differently from the rich.
Benefit fraud, committed mainly by people on very low incomes, costs the UK £1.5 billion a year. Tax avoidance and evasion, committed mainly by very wealthy people, costs us at least £35 billion a year.
So why are there so many newspaper articles about ‘benefit scroungers’, and so few about tax dodgers? And why is HMRC sacking tax collectors rather than collecting the missing tax?
4 High pay for fat cats hurts the rest of us.
Companies which pay a Living Wage, and have fairer ratios between top and bottom pay, perform better. And better pay for the lowest paid is good for us all, because they spend their money and boost the economy. Whereas the wealthy are more likely to keep it in savings – or even in an offshore bank account.
(Find out how your pay compares with the richest of the rich by clicking here.)
5 It costs money to be poor!
People on low incomes get ripped off and exploited every day, by businesses which know that people in poverty have fewer choices about where they buy goods and services. They pay more for food, for fuel, for finance, for furniture, and even for funerals.
It’s called the Poverty Premium, and it costs the average low-income family £1,300 every year.
(Take a look at our Food, Fuel, Finance project to find out how this rip-off works.)
6 It’s getting worse.
We’re told that it’s OK if the rich get richer, because eventually the wealth will ‘trickle down’ and benefit the rest of us.
The rich have been getting richer for over 30 years. The poor are getting poorer. The wealth is being sucked up, not trickling down.
7 It makes this cat grumpy!
If the gap between rich and poor makes you grumpy too, you can join us in working to Close the Gap.
Give – make a donation and you could help make the voices of the poorest people in the UK heard
Act – click here to join our email action list and speak out for change
Pray – if you’re a church-goer, use our worship materials to get your congregation involved