I’m horrified that the average chief executive of a FTSE 100 company now earns 145 times the average salary, up from 47 times in 1998.
There is almost a 10-year gap in male life expectancy between the richest and poorest areas.
The Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS), one of the country’s leading research institutes, is launching the UK’s biggest analysis of inequality. The independent organisation has warned of “deaths of despair”, with a rise in early deaths from drug and alcohol abuse and suicide being linked to factors such as poverty, social isolation and mental health problems.
It’s shocking that this is the reality for millions of people in our country and yet nothing is being done to alleviate this suffering. The IFS says widening inequalities in pay, health and opportunities in the UK are undermining trust in democracy and that such widening gaps are “making a mockery of democracy”.
The report will be chaired by Nobel Prize-winning economist Prof Sir Angus Deaton. He says people are troubled by inequality more than at any time since the 1940s – and the impact is so serious that he suggests “democratic capitalism is broken”. He’s warned of the dangers of disillusionment if people don’t feel fairly rewarded for their work – and that extreme wealth seems to be gained by “taking rather than making”.
Labour MPs have been highlighting this discrimination for a number of years. Every week distressed, and depressed constituents come into our advice surgeries to reveal the desperation they feel at being powerless in the workplace, powerless over their housing options, powerless over their future. The answer is not to be manipulated by small groups who have no manifestos and no ability to govern – but to look to the Labour Party, founded by principles that are as relevant today as they were when the party was created in 1900 – to support all workers, to respect and embrace our differences and deliver on equality.