UK income and wealth inequality are high and wealth inequality is rising. London is the richest city in the UK, but has the highest concentrations of people in poverty, and of children needing free school meals, crowded into poor boroughs. Edinburgh is the richest city in Scotland, but 80,000 people live in poverty, including 1 in 4 children, and the gap between the rich and poor is the highest in Scotland. Both cities have enormous housing wealth and a housing crisis. What is the new normal going to be? If phrases like ‘levelling up’ and ‘building back better’ are to mean anything, it must be a focus on human welfare – social justice, equality, good jobs, sustainability and resilience for people and planet.
Poverty Watch Main Findings
Most affected groups
People who were shielding
Young people: 18-34
People with a disability BAME people
- Social security
– End the benefits cap
– End the two-child limit, which caps at two children, the social security support that
any household can receive.
– Commit to increasing the level of all social security entitlements in line with a
comprehensive adequacy standard, to contribute to the attainment of decent
minimum incomes for all.
- Social services
– Commit to comprehensive investment in ‘social care’ as a locally organised national
health service and accept that diseases more common in old age are about ill-health
and require health care.
– Redress the cuts to children’s services
– Redress the cuts to publicly provided mental health services
– End unpaid work
– Commit to increasing the National Living Wage in line with a comprehensive
– Commit to widening eligibility for the National Living Wage to all age brackets.
– End zero-hours contracts and improve social protection for all atypical workers, and create a level playing field between self-employed and employee status.
– Introduce a windfall tax on large businesses, such as online retailers and large
supermarket chains, who have made excess profits throughout the pandemic, with
revenue used to bolster our social security system and invest in community and
voluntary sector organisations.
– Introduce a one-off or annual wealth tax, to ensure that the wealthiest contribute in
the fullest extent to our economic recovery, and to help address widening wealth
– Strengthen the role and funding of the Equality and Human Rights Commission,
including monitoring and addressing bad practices. Ensure that it is clearly and
distinctively able to address the differing forms of inequality experienced by different groups at risk of discrimination and abuse of their rights. Ensure that it is fully fit to
address social rights – which are human rights.
– No deal is not an option for combating poverty
– Commit to dynamic upward adjustment of labour standards
Peter Kelly (director)
The Poverty Alliance
162 Buchanan Street
Glasgow, G1 2LL
Tel: (44) 141 353 0440
E-mail: peter.kelly (@) povertyalliance.org