Care & compassion, a better society, a better world

UK Wealth Divide widens, with inequality heading for “most unequal country in the developed world”


Oxfam has issued a series of social media communications, coinciding with Channel 4 TV programme by Dispatches called Breadline Kids  highlighting the damning joint report Oxfam GB, Church Action on Poverty and The Trussell Trust:
Downloadable report (June 2014) ” Below the Breadline: The relentless rise of food poverty in Britain”:

Below the Breadline: The relentless rise of food poverty in Britain  on UK widening wealth divide and extreme inequality, absolute poverty and destitution for those at the bottom, with UK heading to become the most unequal country in the developed world.

Oxfam make some hard hitting comments that highlight the disgraceful situation for a country with such extremes of wealth such as the UK as one of the richest countries in the world. It is an organisation that has worked for the world’s poor for decades and often highlighted the unjust inequalities that have existed in the Third World, with the developed world often exploiting resources, whilst poor suffered poverty, disease, malnutrition and starvation. This situation has gone on for far too long. But for such an experienced organisation as Oxfam to have to highlight inequality and extremes of poverty now being experienced in the UK, shows it to be a totally unacceptable situation.

This report has comes out at a time when UK’s richest have become the richest ever, with a phenomenal increase in wealth since 2010, whilst a totally opposite decrease in wealth from those least able to loose what little they had, at the bottom of the ladder of UK society.

Article by Helen Barnard of Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) on Breadline Kids &work of Oxfam and Church Action Poverty on poverty in UK 2014:

Breadline Kids- Families in Dire Need of a Real Child poverty strategy

Stresses caused by poverty include physical ones such as sufficient food and rising malnutrition in UK, but also mental ones with depression and suicide rising:

There is often a combination of physical and mental stresses too and by removing the welfare safety net, governments following these callous policies are multiplying distress, desperation and even driving people living in a modern world with all the media emphases on making money and praising materialistic wealth, with cost of living so high, even to just exist is now expensive, even driving people who feel they have nowhere to turn, to suicide.

Falling wealth of the poor has a profound effect on disposable income of the poor and the danger persists of a 1930s style cycle of deflation in terms of spending power of the poor, which is the real driver of the capitalist engine, not super salaries for owners of corporations, who spend most of their money off-shore in tax havens or in gambling on supposed investments.

When the financial system was collapsing due to greedy gambling ‘banksters’, countries around the world could have responded like Iceland. They could have rebalanced, changed their ways how they have exploited the poor, redistribute more fairly, with opportunities for better rewards for efforts of good things, not rewarding greed and exploitation of others. To deal with the effects of letting the banks collapse, without bailing them out, nations would have had to step in to safeguard people’s homes. But that is the only area that government spending would have been needed in order to protect the public, not the corporations, the recklessness of the gambling of banks and the culture of greed.

To pay for this, banks should have been held accountable and with austerity measures that would have been only ethically distributed according to affordability, with the financial means to cover these costs, i.e. top down and spread as fairly as possible, as Iceland appears to have come closer to doing. Everyone would have known why austerity was needed, that is it was due to gambling loses of the ultra-wealthy bankers and the failure of their system or as many economic commentators such as Max Kaiser and Stacy Herbert of the Keiser Report Max Keiser webpage and the Keiser Report refer to as a ponzi scheme, to governments over-reliance on the financial services sector of the economy.

Instead governments have not solved the collapse, they have chosen to bail out banks in full with the debt taken on far greater than supporting homes and mortgages of banks that would have collapsed, instead they’ve taken on black holes of speculation debt, repacked credit default swaps and the likes, supported reckless on an unprecedented scale, with widespread. To add to the pain of the poor they have used austerity from bottom up, blaming the poor for the mammoth loses of the rich. Also the media and people in power making idols of the rich. They have used it as excuse to extend neoliberalism and old style empire of gentry and peasants, slaves.

The Victorian times were one of lavish wealth and splendour for the rich whilst the poor had no support, they starved and went destitute. Poor masses suffered diseases and risked their lives often shortened by extremes of poverty, masses were exploited. The Middle Ages too the nobles and peasants. This societal arrangement has never been fair, the poor have suffered and in every country where such wealth divides have existed, they have always fallen to uprisings due to oppression and suffering of the poor.

Some poignant comments from Oxfam regarding increasing poverty amongst a larger mass of the poorest in modern Britain:

Oxfam publication (June 2012) The Perfect Storm: Economic stagnation, the rising cost of living, public spending cuts, and the impact on UK poverty

The lie that food poverty is caused by bad choices

Following on from the excellent work of Oxfam in highlighting the seriousness of the increasing wealth divide and unacceptable levels of poverty in a country that is regarded as one of the wealthiest countries in the world, the UK government appear to have responded by launching an attack on Oxfam because of anti-cuts anti-poverty campaign:

Telegraph article on UK government response to Oxfam

Oxfam response to UK government attack and to people who have attacked them in the mainstream media and on social media for defending the poor:

UK Government Conservative MP says on Radio 4 programme interview with Ben Phillips of Oxfam is inaccurate, this is untrue, he is inaccurate, with Orwellian ‘doublespeak’ 1984, as the government figures he refers to are highly questionable, with flawed methodology and validity:

Helping to Tackle Poverty and Injustice Isn’t a Matter of Left or Right, But of Right and Wrong

Sturdy Alex Blog “WEEKLY RANT: Bullying Charities into Silence”

Guardian: Oxfam’s ads target the source of poverty – the politics is not the point

Artist Taxi Driver message on Oxfam fight for poor & UK government response “they want to squash the poor”

The full video needs to be watched as the following is a sample from the video, just some of the points mentioned:
 “they want to squash the poor…racist vans…racially profiling people…spikes for the homeless, foodbanks…child poverty… selling of education… media propaganda against nurses and teachers…relentless..shows complete disregard for some of the most beautiful people in society…tripling of student fees…giving the kids, their future…privatise student loan book….help the poor by sanctioning them..they want to send bailiffs round their door…housing repossessions…..landlords running amok..cuts to legal aid..a legal system where only the rich can afford it/ George Orwellian 1984… forked tongue…nothing but cut every service…shipping whole of the public service into the hands of carper baggers…you don’t want to help the poor you want to help yourselves…the financial crisis the banks…recapitulation of the banks..about greed the taking over of people’s lives…fraud, theft, deception…City of London, the city of all do the bidding for your masters…your politics are politics of hate..prejudice..fear..control society…most people trying to hang on to what they’ve got, trying not to get caught up in The Perfect Storm..just one illness one redundancy away from…doing all the care services cut, they want your bedroom..they want to crush you,, they want to use you, make money out of you..Oxfam advert should have been endless”

Many church denominations and faiths have joined in condemnation of governmental policies of poverty and austerity that cause hardship and suffering to those least able to afford it. There has been a deliberate and vindictive, politically motivated response to the global financial crisis by the use or rather excuse of “ideological austerity” as ‘Artist Taxi Driver’ often mentions in his unique way expressing righteous anger and injustice, as a means to roll back the state to remove the welfare safety net that was built up following WWII. Around the world there is suffering caused by wars, poverty and in many cases both perpetuate and are used as excuses to pursue politics of greed, evil repression and oppression. ‘Haves’ of this world against the ‘have-nots’, gentry over serfs, nobility over peasants, plantation owners over slaves. It has gone on for centuries, it had improved, in the developed world, there was an ideal for the under-developed world too, but the cycle is going round again, because of powerful people steering it that way, division, inequality:

Poorest of the poor, UK doesn’t fare well, near bottom of Developed World:

The poor in Britain are among worst-off in Western Europe

UK unemployment benefit is less generous than Romania, Albania and the US

World ranking in Unemployment Benefit replacement rates

Source of OECD developed countries, unemployment benefit data: International Monetary Fund Working paper “Labour Market Regulations in Low, Middle and High Income Countries: A New panel Database

Aleksynska, M., and Schindler,. M (2011)

 UK unemployment benefit in 2011 ranked 46th out of 51 OECD countries.

Relative unemployment benefit rates compared to other OECD countries, excluding sanctions have fallen further since 2011, taking UK to the or very close to the very bottom of the developed world in terms of level of assistance given to people to live on whilst looking for work, which in turn makes it more difficult relocating for work. All in a society that is one of the most expensive to live in in the world and with a very large shortfall in living wage jobs available for unemployed or for very low paid in work, with in-work poverty also amongst the worst in the developed world.

The Golden 1%: Britain’s poor worse than ever

OECD report shows UK’s poorest fifth of the population are the poorest in Western Europe :

What would the neighbours say? How inequality means the UK is poorer than we think

UK poorest now on a par with poor of Europe’s Eastern bloc poverty stricken ‘Austerity’ countries:

Daily Mirror article: “Welfare cuts one year on: Now Britain’s poorest are on par with former Eastern bloc”

Max Keiser and Stacy Herbert in one of their broadcasts on macroeconomics:

… the financial bubbles, negative interest rates, banks loaded with toxic debt, credit default swaps, quantitative easing, austerity, unemployment, health care budgets cut…manipulation..fraud..libor…bonds…bad debts on books…global quantitative easing…austerity and suffering of lower 99.99%…deflationary spiral. Capital at expense of human beings…inflation for poor…debt based, not in terms of capital formation.. Planet debt…repackaged loans… Interest rate apartheid…

UK and major financial fraud:

The wealth divide is a phenomenon that is now taking place globally, in a post-capitalist/communist world of the corporate elite, and era of oligarchs, banks, with corporation and government corruption, a race to the bottom for the poor masses and the poorest made destitute with rising homelessness and abject poverty now even experienced in the developed as well as underdeveloped world.

Even worse, that this is being accepted rather than dealt with. It was always wrong that the rich and powerful in the developed world exploited the masses of poor in the third world, with war, famine, disease, starvation, that they allowed the poorest to suffer. Now they are allowing it to happen in the developed world, whereas such poverty, which is counter to the UN ideals as indicated in the declaration of human rights and Geneva Convention, with objectives and goals should be eradicated as far as possible all over the world.

11 thoughts on “UK Wealth Divide widens, with inequality heading for “most unequal country in the developed world”

  1. Pingback: UK Wealth Divide widens, with inequality heading for “most unequal country in the developed world” | kittysjones

  2. Well done. Bang on. We could have gone the path of Iceland and brought the banksters to book but cameron allowed some of those responsible for the icelandic crash to shelter in the city. This is where there is a nest of hornets gambling with our pensions and our futures. You are so right it is a race to the bottom for the poor but the corporate media pressitutes focus on the garbage and the middle classes are happy with their houses and do not want to know what is happening to the poor.
    I ‘m very pleased oxfam have taken it on themselves to start to fight for the poor. Where are the others? However, they function as a corporation now and the ceo has a six figure salary while the volunteers work for nothing.
    I wouldn’t put too much faith in the un. nato and the us under a humanitarian disguise and we all know what that means. But things are not going their way and the house of cards is shaking.
    Down very soon.
    Don’t get caught protesting on the streets. This has to be done another way with the rise of compassion, love, justice and fairness. Your site is a good find.

    Thank you

  3. Reblogged this on Beastrabban’s Weblog and commented:
    This describes not only the findings of Oxfam, Church Action on Poverty and the Trussell Trust that there is a massive gulf between the rich and poor in this country, it also includes the memes and twitter messages Oxfam has formulated to get its message across. It also includes sound files of a spokesman for Oxfam on Radio 4 defending their statistics and attacking the highly manipulated figures of the Conservatives, as well as supporting messages by the Artist Taxi Driver, and pieces from Max Keiser and Stacy Herbert of the Keiser report attacking the government’s economic policy. As this piece says, it’s to accompany the Channel 4 Dispatches programme. This is more really useful ammunition to use against the Tories and their Tory Democrat allies.

  4. Pingback: UK Wealth Divide widens, with inequality headin...

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