INEQUALITY PERVADES UK SOCIETY
The Government Equalities Offices in the UK have published an excellent research report on the extent of inequality in the UK. You can view the entire report and its findings by clicking here.
In summary the report shows:
Inequalities in earnings and incomes are high in Britain, both compared with other industrialisedcountries, and compared with thirty years ago. Over the most recent
decade, earnings inequality has narrowed a little and income inequality has stabilised
on some measures, but the large inequality growth of the 1980s has not been reversed.
• Some of the widest gaps in outcomes between social groups have narrowed in the last
decade, particularly between the earnings of women and men, and in the educational
qualifications of different ethnic groups. However, deep-seated and systematic
differences in economic outcomes remain between social groups across all of the
dimensions we examine. Despite the elimination and even reversal of the qualification
differences that often explain them, significant differences remain in employment rates
and relative pay between men and women and between ethnic groups.
• Differences in outcomes between the more and less advantaged within each social
group, however the population is classified, are much greater than differences between
social groups. Even if all differences between groups were removed, overall inequalities
would remain wide. The inequality growth of the last forty years is mostly attributable
to growing gaps within groups rather than between them.
• Many of the inequalities we examine accumulate across the life cycle, especially
those related to socio-economic background. Economic advantage and disadvantage
reinforce themselves across the life cycle, and often on to the next generation. Policy
interventions to counter this are needed at each life cycle stage. Achieving ‘equality of
opportunity’ is very hard when there are such wide differences between the resources
which people and their families have to help them fulfil their diverse potentials.
The report also shows inequalities in work and outcomes for ethnic people living in the UK, but the nature and extent of this varies from one ethnic community to another. In general, ethnic women experience greater penalties than white women in all areas of work. Levels of education and qualification also vary between ethnic communities. There are also differences between first and second generation immigrants.
Article added on 9th July 2010 at 8:07am
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