Wealth gap is a blot on society

The latest Rich List shows that we now have more billionaires than ever before.

Thursday, 23rd May 2019, 4:55 pm
Ronnie Campbell, Blyth Valley Labour MP.

At the same time, we have record levels of child poverty, with one in four youngsters in breadline families.

The widening gap between the very rich and the very poor is a scandal.

The financial sector’s Hinduja brothers saw their fortune increase by £1.356bn in the last year to £22bn.

In the north east, child poverty rose to 23 per cent. That is a shocking contrast.

And some of the super-rich say they will leave the country if either Labour comes to power or Brexit is finally delivered. Good riddance.

Billionaires are happy to make their money here, then leave and not contribute anything back to the UK economy.

And the bankers who caused the slump over the last ten years are still raking in bonuses while many workers still see their wages frozen or kept below two per cent.

The wealth gap is a blot on our society, and the latest child poverty action group report shows that the economy is poorer as a result.

When children grow up poor they miss out. They miss out on the things most children take for granted: warm clothes, school trips, having friends over for tea.

Child poverty has long-lasting effects. There is a 28 per cent gap between children receiving free school meals and their wealthier peers in terms of the number achieving at least five A*-C GCSE grades.

Poverty is also related to poor health, again influencing earnings, as well as the overall quality, and indeed length, of life.

People in the most deprived areas of the north and London live over nine years less than those in the least deprived areas of the south east and Home Counties.

But poverty isn’t inevitable. With the right policies every child can have the opportunity to do well in life, and we all share the rewards of having a stronger economy and a healthier, fairer society.