Britain Is One of the Most Unequal Countries, Oxfam Says

September 13, 2016 Updated: September 13, 2016

The total wealth of the richest 1 per cent of the population is 20 times more than that of the poorest fifth, making Britain one of the most unequal developed countries in the world, Oxfam said.

According to the charity’s analysis, around 634,000 people own 20 times as much as the poorest 13 million people in Britain.

Rachael Orr, Head of Oxfam’s UK Programme, said the nation is divided into “haves” and “have-nots” and is calling on Prime Minister Theresa May to close the gap through a four-point plan for government and businesses.

These include putting an end to the era of tax havens and corporate tax avoidance, giving a greater voice to employees, addressing pay disparities, and incentives for businesses to improve the skills of their workforce.

The report also implies that soaring inequality could have contributed to the vote to leave the European Union in June.

“Whatever your views on Brexit, the referendum brought divisions within our country to a head, with many people expressing distrust and disconnection with political processes and voting for change in the hope that it would improve their economic position,” the report said.

A government spokesperson said: “Work is the best route out of poverty and since 2010 we’ve made real progress: 2.7 million more people in our country have a job, we’ve given a pay rise to a million of the lowest paid with the National Living wage – and we’ve overhauled the welfare system so it pays to work rather than claim benefits.

“But there is still much more to do, not just for those on the margins of society, but for families up and down the country who are just getting by. With Theresa May as Prime Minister, we will do what is needed to keep our economy strong and build a country that works for all of us, not just the privileged few.”

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