Saturday, July 21, 2007

Unit 2: The rising inequality of income and wealth in the UK

The gap between rich and poor is at its highest level for 40 years, according to research by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation. This BBC clip explains the problem
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The main conclusions of the report are

1. Deep poverty has declined: Over the last 15 years, more households have become poor, but fewer are very poor.

2. Relative poverty has increased: The overall number of ‘breadline poor’ households increased – households where people live below the standard poverty line (defined as household income below 60 per cent of median income adjusted for household size). This number has consistently been above 17 per cent, peaking at 27 per cent in 2001.

3. Wealth breeds wealth: Already-wealthy areas have tended to become disproportionately wealthier. There is evidence of increasing polarisation, where rich and poor now live further apart. In areas of some cities over half of all households are now breadline poor. Personal wealth held by the richest 1% of the population grew as a proportion of national share, rising from 17% in 1991 to 24% in 2002.

4. The housing boom has impacted on wealth: 23 per cent of households are now wealthy in terms of housing assets.

5. Pockets of deep poverty in urban areas: Urban clustering of poverty has increased, while wealthy households have concentrated in the outskirts and surrounds of major cities, especially those classified as ‘exclusive wealthy’, which have been steadily concentrating around London.

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