Anatomy of Economic Inequality in the UK

The recent report of the National Equality Panel, An Anatomy of Economic Inequality in the UK (published by the Government Equality Office and produced by a team co-ordinated by The Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion — CASE — at the London School of Economics) is now available to download free of charge from the CASE website here. You can download the whole thing (470pp), a summary (50pp), or an executive summary (6pp).

The sheer scale and complexity of the data makes it pretty hard to digest, but the analysis (here in the Guardian and elsewhere) is clear. Inequality begins with social origins — class; is compounded by education;  perpetuated by employment and income; and widens over the course of a lifetime.

Who knew?

It’s true that that’s a very tempting — almost irresistible — response, but make no mistake, in terms of public policy this will be a hugely influential report, not least in reinforcing the new legal duty on local authorities (introduced in the Equality Bill) to address socio-economic inequality.

And certainly some of the facts and figures do emerge powerfully. For instance, the researchers analysed the total wealth accrued by households over a lifetime. By the time they draw close to retirement (aged 55-64), the top 10% —  higher professionals —  have amassed wealth of £2.2m, including property and pension assets. The bottom 10% of households, however, led by routine manual workers, will amass less than £8,000.

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